CNN.com just posted this excellent piece looking at funding threats to successful AIDS treatment programs in Uganda. Highly recommended.
Key excerpt and corresponding video clip below:
The U.N. says by 2008, about 141,000 Ugandans were receiving antiretroviral therapy. But Mugyenyi can recall a time when less than 10,000 of Uganda’s HIV/AIDS sufferers were able to receive life-saving treatment.
“I once did a round, [when I had to] literally go around bodies of people lying in corridors to get to those on the bed,” said Mugyenyi. “But that situation has been changed by PEPFAR.”
But at one of the research center’s outreach facilities — Hope Clinic — they’re worried about funding.
In an internal memo dating from October 2009, obtained by CNN, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Ugandan clinics like Hope they should “expect to have a set flat-lined budget for antiviral drug procurement.”
Health workers at Hope Clinic say that means changes for clinics that in recent years have given free treatment to every patient who walked through the door.
Patients already enrolled in antiviral treatment continue to get their drugs, but now new patients go on a waiting list. A treatment slot opens when a patient dies. Mugyenyi said they turn away up to 20 patients every day.
“As people who saw the devastation of the past, we fear we may have a setback,” he told CNN. “The achievements we have made over the years with PEPFAR — we might begin to see a reversal of the benefits we have seen.”