Sunday, 17 November 2019

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HIV/AIDs drug donations for Burmese patients likely to decrease

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – International support and donations for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) drugs for HIV/AIDs patients in Burma is expected to decrease in the coming years because of the world economic slump.

General-Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at the recent NLD World AIDS Day ceremony in Rangoon.Dr. Sid Naing, the director of the Burmese branch of UK-based Marie Stopes International (MSI), said that more than 70,000 people living with HIV in Burma need ART drugs.
Global Fund, a major donor, plans to grant Burma US $51.9 million for combating HIV/AIDS between 2011 and 2015, but the amount is expected to drop in 2013, sources said.
“Because of the world economic recession, donors have encountered problems. Burma will get fewer funds. Under the circumstances, Burma should not rely only on donors. The authorities and others need to consider how to get more drugs,” Sid Naing told Mizzima.
According to Global Fund figures, it will grant Burma  $21.38 million to fight HIV in 2011-2012.
A report released in July by the United Nations AIDS program said about 76,000 people need drug therapy, and an estimated 236,000 people live with HIV in Burma.
Yarza, who manages the “salvation centers” in South Dagon and North Dagon townships in Rangoon operated by the National League for Democracy (NLD), said more than 200 people living with HIV rely on local and foreign donors for ART drugs.
The average monthly cost for ART drugs is about 30,000 kyat (about US $30). HIV patients who need complementary medicine must spend 300,000 kyat per month.
According to the United Nations website, HIV prevalence in Burma among female sex workers was 11.2 per cent; people who inject drugs, 34.6 per cent; men who have sex with men, 22.3 per cent; and pregnant women, 0.96 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Burmese government provides minimal treatment to AIDs patients and is also experiencing a serious shortage of funds.
 “The government can provide patients with services conducted by experts, specialists and nurses. Their knowledge and services are the main support,” said Sid Naing.
Earlier this year, Health Minister Pe Thet Khin told Parliament that his ministry needed 8 billion kyat per year to provide its services, but received 3.5 billion kyat.
On Thursday, the NLD held a ceremony to mark World AIDS Day at its headquarters in Bahan Township in Rangoon. NLD General-Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi deliver a speech and about 300 people attended. NLD branch offices in Kyaukpadaung, Aunglan, Taungtwingyi, Yaynanchaung and Meikhtila townships also held ceremonies to mark World AIDS Day.

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