HIV/Aids

24 May 2007

Staff key to HIV fight

The main barrier to expanding HIV/Aids treatment in southern Africa is the shortage of health staff, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Thursday.

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The main barrier to expanding HIV/Aids treatment in southern Africa is the shortage of health staff, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Thursday.

A report on MSF's experience in Malawi, Lesotho, South Africa and Mozambique suggested that over one million people needing Aids treatment were not getting it.

"If these people do not receive access to treatment, they will die," said Sharonann Lynch of MSF in Lesotho.

Treatment deficits in Lesotho were 40 300, in Malawi 109 100, in Mozambique 192 900, and in South Africa 718 000.

Human resources lacking
Aids drug prices had dropped and funding had increased but there was little support for increasing human resources for health.

"More pills, more infrastructure will not improve the situation... the bottleneck is health staff," said Dr Eric Goemaere, head of MSF's programme in Khayelitsha.

Proposed interventions included allowing nurses to prescribe antiretroviral drugs and empowering community workers.

Emergency measures were also needed to retain staff. Salaries and working conditions also need to be improved.

The report Help Wanted was released in Johannesburg. – (Sapa)

Read more:
HIV/Aids Centre

May 2007

 

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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