Cameroon To Provide All HIV-Positive People With Access to No-Cost Antiretrovirals, Health Minister Says
Cameroon Health Minister Urbain Olanguena Awono on Thursday announced that the country will provide access to no-cost antiretroviral drugs to all HIV-positive people in the country beginning in May, the AP/Casper Star-Tribune reports. According to Awono, the treatment access program will be funded by the government, as well as by groups such as the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Clinton Foundation. The program is expected to cost about 5.5 billion CFA francs, or about $11.9 million, this year, the AP/Star-Tribune reports (Tumanjong, AP/Casper Star-Tribune, 4/19). The program aims to provide treatment access to nearly 50,000 HIV-positive people, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. According to a health ministry spokesperson, the program will target about 43,000 HIV-positive adults and 4,000 HIV-positive children. UNAIDS -- which provided the country with a $68 million grant for 2007 to 2009 that partially will fund the program -- estimates that about 5.5% of Cameroon's adult population is HIV-positive (AFP/Yahoo! News, 4/19). Awono did not say how long the program is scheduled to last, and his office did not respond to calls, according to the AP/Star-Tribune. Cameroon previously has offered access to no-cost HIV/AIDS treatment and screening to pregnant women, children, people living with TB, prison inmates and other vulnerable populations. A typical regimen of antiretrovirals costs about $14 monthly in Cameroon, according to the AP/Star-Tribune (AP/Casper Star-Tribune, 4/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.