Ver Angola


HIV in Angola remains a concern with 28,000 new cases per year

The president of the Angolan Network of AIDS Service Organizations (Anaso), António Coelho, expressed his concern this Monday about the increase of new cases of HIV infection in the country, demanding improvements in the response to the disease.


"The situation of AIDS in Angola remains worrying. Despite government and civil society efforts, the number of new HIV infections has been increasing, with around 28,000 new infections per year, and the number of deaths has also been increasing with 11,000 to 12,000 deaths per year," said António Coelho.

For the president of the non-governmental organization (NGO), who was speaking on the sidelines of a high-level meeting in Luanda between the government and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the increase in numbers is essentially due to the scarcity of resources and lack of implementation of actions.

"We have good policies, we have good strategies, but if we go to the field there is no implementation of the actions because there are no funds", underlined the responsible, adding that the Government "has great difficulty in putting money" to respond to diseases like HIV/AIDS.

Considering the need to create conditions to change behaviour and respond better to the problem, António Coelho stressed that "we need to improve the political will", improving the "political leadership", which is "compromised" by the poor performance of the National Commission to Fight AIDS and Great Endemics.

There are also "serious problems in the collection and processing of data", the Anaso leader continued, pointing out that the prevalence rate of 2 per cent "comes from 10 years ago" which means that there are between 350,000 and 500,000 people living with HIV in the country, only 78,000 of whom are undergoing treatment.

Angola is also among the countries with the highest rate of vertical transmission of HIV (from mother to child), around 28 per cent.

Anaso indicated that it is also necessary to overcome financial limitations: "We continue as we did a few years ago with our hands outstretched and looking at international organizations, we have to reverse the situation and, above all, improve the Angolan government's contribution in the fight against AIDS".

In this context, he said he was "looking at contributions such as the Global Fund that has been in Angola since 2004, with an accumulated support of more than 350 million dollars, which unfortunately has decreased in recent years", which last year stood at 58 million dollars.

The Global Fund is one of the government's main partners in the fight against major endemics such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and is expected to sign a new framework agreement with Angola in this area on Wednesday, but António Coelho fears that there are some obstacles.

"We have the problem of the country not being able to participate in this new subsidy if some problems that are creating noise are not overcome," he said.

António Coelho stressed "the need for Angola to demonstrate the Angolan Government's counterpart in the fight against the three diseases", since the Fund believes that, in recent years, it has not had clear evidence of the Angolan counterpart, which may "compromise continuity".

To express the importance of this support, the president of Anaso said that today the level of medicines survives "thanks to the Global Fund".

"We believe that there is only a noise in the communication, it does not seem to me that the Angolan Government is not fulfilling its part, but there must be evidence" that the financial contribution is being applied, he noted.

The chairman of the board of the Global Fund, Donald Kaberuka, was on Monday in Luanda at the high-level meeting attended by the Ministers of Health, Silvia Lutucuta, and State for the Social Area, Carolina Cerqueira.

The meeting includes working sessions on the situation of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and perspectives for improving the management of Global Fund grants in Angola, as well as a visit to the health hospital.

This Tuesday the meeting continues in Huambo province to verify the degree of implementation of Global Fund grants, with the signing of the new framework agreement expected on Wednesday.

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