Plan To Close Independent HIV/AIDS Clinics in Mozambique Raises Concerns, Protests
Advocates in Mozambique recently protested outside a hospital in the capital of Maputo against the announcement that specialized care units for HIV/AIDS treatment in the country will be closed, the SAPA/Times reports. According to the SAPA/Times, people living with HIV/AIDS use the independently run clinics -- known as Centro Dia -- for services like counseling, treatment, testing and follow-up care. Advocates are concerned that patients could lose their privacy and face increased discrimination if they are integrated into the regular health services at centers around the country. Mozambican authorities say that it is not necessary for the services provided by Centro Dia to be separate from those offered under the National Health Service.
The SAPA/Times reports that an estimated 20,000 people in Maputo are registered in the Central Dia system, which includes 5,700 people on antiretroviral treatment. Advocates argue that closing the independent health centers could discourage people from adhering to their treatment regimens. Maputo's local coordinator for Medicins Sans Frontieres -- which currently provides antiretroviral treatment to at least 4,000 people in Maputo -- said that losing patients from treatment programs would be "disastrous." A study conducted by the World Health Organization and the country's health ministry of among 17 antiretroviral supply sites in three Mozambican provinces found that about 8% of people living with HIV/AIDS were lost during follow-up from 2007 to 2008 (SAPA/Times, 3/27).