Uganda Deprived of HIV Drugs Due to Global Downturn

Because of the global economic downturn, AIDS sufferers in Africa cannot expect as much assistance as before. Indeed, funding cuts have been affecting the provision of drugs.

Organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief made several announcements in this sense.

This situation poses a very difficult challenge for African countries. In Uganda, the proposed solution by authorities involved requiring people to pay part of the cost of drugs. Such strategy seems completely unrealistic given the living conditions of many AIDS sufferers in the country.

"It was like telling us: ‘Go home and die,'" Christine, an AIDS sufferer from central Uganda, told German press agency DPA.

Buying drugs bears a cost that many Ugandan households cannot handle since their income does not even allow them to buy food on a regular basis.

As one of the world's worst-hit by the AIDS epidemic, Uganda has been greatly dependent on drug supplies. Around 1.3 million Ugandans are infected with HIV.

For the moment, the Global Fund has been able to provide $4 million for antiretroviral drugs. But this amount could only address the shortage for around three months. After this period, Ugandan hospitals and health centers are very much likely to run out of drugs.

For a country that managed to reduce infection rates from almost 30 to 6.4 percent in 20 years, this stands as a dramatic step back.

About the author

  • Antoine Remise

    Antoine is a former international development correspondent for Devex, based in Paris. He holds a bachelor's in political science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques of Lille and a master's in development administration and planning from the University College in London. Antoine has conducted researche for development projects in Chile, Senegal and Uganda, notably on education, health, local saving systems and housing issues. He is fluent in French, English and Spanish.