By Ben Plumley, Vice President, Global Access and Partnerships, Tibotec
33 million people worldwide are living with HIV, and 70% of those are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa countries - already some of the poorest in the world - do not have adequate financial and human resources to provide the services their citizens living with HIV need.
The healthcare capacity gap is one of the key themes of 2009's World AIDS Day and World AIDS Campaign. A number of extraordinary innovative approaches to providing AIDS treatment and care have been developed in recent years. Whether it is through "Centers of Excellence" with state of the art treatment, training and research facilities, or community-led and managed providers of home based care, African solutions to particular African problems are now driving the response to HIV/AIDS.
Uganda is a prime example of both hi-tech and low-tech approaches. The Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) in Uganda's capital, Kampala, is a leading East African center providing optimal care and prevention for HIV and AIDS and works to develop innovative approaches to health training. Operated by Makerere University, IDI is a non-governmental organization that offers a full spectrum of advanced HIV care, support, training and groundbreaking, globally respected research. The facility lab meets and indeed exceeds western standards, and its activities are conducted with highly trained and experienced treaters and researchers.
Not thirty minutes away, in the townships that surround Kampala, TASO (The AIDS Support Organization) is a world-renowned community-based organization that has a network of local clinics where people with HIV can collect their ARV regimens. They even have a cadre of young motor-bicycle based healthcare workers delivering ARVs and home-based care to clients unable to get to the local clinics.
For all healthcare workers across Africa, providing HIV treatment and care comes with unique challenges. The priority over the last few years has been for first-line therapy. In coming years, a growing focus will be for potent and safe second-line treatment regimens, as some patients begin to build resistance to or fail their first-line treatments. Companies like Tibotec can help by providing medical education either directly or through collaborations with public and private sector organizations, providing treaters and decision makers with accurate information about our medicines: