AFRICA START CARE FOR AIDS CHILDREN
Staff members of the new pediatric AIDS clinic in Lesotho came across a HIV AIDS infected child, whom was so ill as the silent. The twig-thin youngster led in by his grandmother would have been destined to follow his late parent, both buried in last five years after suffering from AIDS symptoms.
Children with AIDS I sub-Saharan were generally considered a lost cause, treatment that exit were limited to adult for whom antiretroviral therapy is scare and costly.
Now, that is slowly changing. Through some charitable foundation, pediatric AIDS medication is available for as little as $200 a tear, half of what it used to cost and only $60more a year than adult medication. Government, international agencies and private charities have begun to train the region’s ragtag health care corps to treat children.
In Lesotho, two pediatric AIDS clinics have opened in the capital in the last year, and seven hospitals have begun to offer antiretroviral treatment. Still, only a few children get help. Perhaps 8000 need antiretroviral therapy. Government health officials say; a mere 261 were receiving it at year’s end. Death comes swiftly for those who go without it. Half of all untreated HIV-positive infant die before the age of 2 for lack of medication that can produce transformations seemingly overnight. With medicine, some America infants infected since birth have survived into adulthood and become parents themselves.
Many reason are attributed to children infection – an estimated 2.1 million in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 25 million adults. Specialized and costly test are needed to determine whether a child under 18 months is infected, although treatment can begin based on symptoms alone. Children are also more complicated to treat, partly because their medication must be constantly adjusted as their height and weight change. And pediatric drugs cost more than adult medication - until recently, up to three times as much.
In Lesotho, a nation of 1.8 million encircle by south Africa, more than one is believed to be infected with HIV, the third highest infection rate in the world. Treatment for adult began in 2004. Treatment for children followed last April. Caseloads have bee swelling ever since. But with an average of one doctor for every 20,000 people, patients sit shoulder-to-shoulder, sometimes waiting more than a day to be seen in hospital.
The World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria are pouring millions into the national budget for AIDS programs. A new pediatric AIDS center at the busy Queen Elizabeth II Hospital with $2 million fund from the pharmaceutical firm provide aids for pediatric AIDS medicine, and also financial help from the Lesotho government. Doctors without Borders is training nurses in 14 clinics, hoping to demonstrate that AIDS care need not be centered in hospital nor depends so heavily on doctors.
In Quoting, only 13 children have begun treatment since an antiretroviral clinic opened at the red brick hospital. Many more could probably be traced through the prenatal clinic next door, which treats steady stream of H.I.V positive pregnant women who may infect their newborns during pregnancy delivery or breastfeeding.