Government Accused of being Slow on Implementing New HIV Treatment

959 Views Kampala, Uganda
In November last year, a meeting of the Uganda National AIDS Council agreed to change the prevention of mother to child treatment from single antiretroviral treatment to a more effective dual treatment. However three months later, the new prevention of mother to child treatment guidelines have not be published or disseminated to the medical community countrywide. National Program Manager of the AIDS Control Program, Dr. Elizabeth Madraa, disclosed in an interview today that health workers have not yet received information that the dual ARV therapy, which is currently available in Uganda, although it is more effective than the single Nevirapine treatment. The dual therapy was approved by the World Health Organization since August 2006. Dr. Madraa said that despite having the resources and expertise, Uganda has fallen behind neighbouring countries in rolling out the dual therapy and managing the mother to child transmission of HIV. She said it is incumbent on government to educate the medical community on the new treatment and its implementation. While pediatric HIV has almost been eradicated in several countries around the world, AIDS lobby group Treatment Action Campaign estimates that 60,000 babies are infected with HIV every year despite the prevention of mother to child treatment. According to Treatment Action Campaign the infection is not only caused by the failure to switch to dual therapy, but also poor implementation of existing treatment programs.