September 6, 2011
"Burundian NGOs say at least 20 people have died" as a result of a "months-long shortage" of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), although "Ministry of Health officials could not be reached to confirm the number of people affected," PlusNews reports. "More than 60,000 Burundians need HIV treatment, but only about 25,000 have access to ARVs," according to the news agency, which adds, "The shortage has been blamed on dwindling donor funds and a disorganized health ministry."
"At the end of June 2011, World Bank funding -- more than US$50 million over a nine-year period -- for Burundi's AIDS response ended and has not been renewed. Together with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Bank had been one of Burundi's largest HIV donors," the news agency writes. "According to Celine Kanyonge, who heads the country's prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission program (PMTCT), funding from the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, which supported pediatric ARVs, has also ended. ... And despite the Global Fund approving some $35 million to fight HIV in Burundi under its eighth round of grants, organizations caring for HIV-positive people have still not signed agreements with the National Council for HIV/AIDS Control, CNLS, to access the cash," PlusNews reports (9/5).