Madagascar’s Response to HIV/AIDS One of ‘Most Aggressive’ in Africa, AP/ABC News Reports
Madagascar's response to HIV/AIDS has been one of the "most aggressive" in Africa and should serve as a model for how to prevent the transmission of the virus and improve overall health care, the AP/ABC News reports. Although less than 1% of Madagascar's population is living with HIV/AIDS, an influx of foreign workers, as well as a high rate of other sexually transmitted infections, has led the country to implement aggressive HIV prevention campaigns, the AP/News reports.
According to the AP/News, the government has established more than 100 testing clinics, increased access to condoms and has begun training teachers how to relay HIV prevention messages to their students. In addition, the country in August passed the first law in Africa that imposes fines for discriminating against people living with the disease or disclosing their status. The country also plans to distribute 400,000 HIV test kits by the end of 2007 and to provide 90% of HIV-positive people with antiretroviral drugs within five years, the AP/News reports.
Fanjaniaina Rajoelisolo, head of the country's national AIDS office, said the country's campaign against HIV/AIDS is a "personal initiative" of Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana, adding that the president negotiates with international donors. According to Rajoelisolo, the country also ensures that precise records of every procedure and consultation are kept to provide donors with detailed accounting of how funds are being spent. "Donors see exactly what their money is doing and are willing to contribute more," Rajoelisolo said, adding, "We compare ourselves with other countries" and "then analyze all of [the information] and plan a strategy that will fit us." Hugo Templeman, an expert in South Africa who advises Ravalomanana on HIV/AIDS, said, "On HIV and AIDS, Madagascar is the only country in Africa that is getting it right" (Leonard, AP/ABC News, 12/16).