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Five-year plan to provide ARV treatment; improve health care

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A five-year plan to provide continuous ARV drug treatment to Burmese HIV/AIDS patients was adopted at a meeting in Naypyitaw attended by government ministers, and UN and NGO officials.

A Rangoon medical worker, left, takes  a blood sample from a woman as part of an HIV test at a  specialized clinic run almost entirely by those in the sex trade. The project now has programmes in 19 cities and employs 350 people. Photo : AFPA total of US$ 49 million will be spent in 2011 for the project, to be increaseed to $ 85 million in 2015, according to UN estimates.

‘This is a 5-year plan, but it is not the sole project of the UN or the Burmese government. It will be a joint project of the government, UN, INGOs, donors and the community. We need a plan to fight HIV/AIDS in the country’, a senior UN official told Mizzima.

Apart from providing continuous treatment with the ARV drug, the project will also work to reduce the infection rate.
The government has currently earmarked 0.4% (of the total budget) for health spending in fiscal 2011 but that figure doesn’t suggest exact figures for HIV/AIDS patients.

There are about 236,000 people living HIV/AIDS in Burma and about 76,000 need the ARV drug. In 2010, only 30,000 people were provided with the ARV drug, says the UN.

The monthly ARV dose for a patient will cost between 25,000 to 30,000 kyat (US$ 32-38).

‘This ARV drug treatment is a lifetime treatment. The patients must take this drug until death’, actress Swe Zin Htike, who works in a HIV NGO, told Mizzima.

Thursday’s meeting was attended by officials from various government ministries including health, home, social welfare, immigration, officials from Attorney General office, UN officials, officials from NGOs, and donors who are assisting HIV/AIDS patients.

The meeting also adopted a plan to improve the health care system with better government involvement and availability of more strategic information.

The infection rate and HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in sex workers is 11.2 per cent, syringe needle (needle sharing) is 34.6 percent, sexual intercourse 22.3 per cent, mother to child in pregnancy is 0.96 per cent, according to a UN survey. The highest HIV prevalence rate through needle sharing is found in northern Burma and in border areas.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 June 2011 09:09 )  

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