DRC Facing Decline In Donor Funding, HIV Treatment Shortage

“The lives of thousands of HIV-positive people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are at risk as the country faces declining donor funding and a severe shortage of HIV treatment, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF),” PlusNews reports. “‘The problem is quite old in the DRC; the country has always been minimized by donors who have not seen it as a priority, mainly because HIV prevalence is relatively low at between three and four percent,’ Thierry Dethier, advocacy manager for MSF Belgium in the DRC, told IRIN/PlusNews,” and he added, “But look at the indicators: more than one million people are living with HIV, 350,000 of whom qualify for [antiretrovirals (ARVs)] but only 44,000 — or 15 percent — are on ARVs,” the news service writes.

The news service cites “the end of six years of World Bank funding in 2011”; the end of UNITAID funding, which provides for pediatric and second-line ARVs, in December 2012; and “the cancellation of Round 11 funding by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria” as reasons for the ARV shortage in the DRC. “The Global Fund says it is reviewing a request for continued funding, and no life-saving programs will be cut as a result of funding shortages,” but “Dethier noted that other donors would have to step up their funding,” the news service writes (2/2).