World AIDS Day: A race against time as HIV treatment is cut

Anti-retrovirals are vital in improving and saving the lives of children with HIV.

Share
Related Topics

In an orphanage on the outskirts of Guinea Bissau’s capital, children are facing what could be a long and painful death.

A quarter of the orphans at Casa Emanuel are HIV positive and many ended up here as they lost both of their parents to the epidemic.  Earlier this year, half the positive children at the centre were on anti-retroviral drugs.  However, ahead of the 25th World AIDS day this Saturday, they are struggling to cope with a critical shortage of their life-saving treatment.

Anti-retrovirals have never been easy to come by in Guinea Bissau.  However, after last April’s coup, The Global Fund to fight AIDS was forced to withdraw funding to the government ministry responsible for tackling HIV and AIDS.  Coup leaders have handed power to a civilian administration, but many Western countries have frozen aid to the country and do not recognise the authorities.   The National Secretariat against AIDS says The Global Fund was their main backer and now they are finding it increasingly difficult to pay staff and distribute drugs. 

At Casa Emanuel, the situation is desperate.  Their only medical supplier is the National Secretariat and the orphanage has no other way to provide medication.  Innocent children are suffering.  The orphanage also relies upon the Secretariat for special nourishing food, to keep HIV positive children healthy.  If the situation continues, these kids will undoubtedly die.  With proper care and treatment they could live and accomplish their goals. 

And the problems don’t end with Casa Emanuel.  Plan was providing school supplies and food to children affected by HIV and AIDS, but that was in partnership with the Secretariat and has also been suspended.  What’s more, our plans to start a national network of organisations for people living with HIV and AIDS have been put on hold – for exactly the same reason. 

Government figures put the rate of HIV in Guinea Bissau at 3.3%, one of the highest in West Africa.  Plan has been working in the country for the past 17 years, helping children to access their rights to education, health, sanitation and protection.  We cannot stand by and allow children to suffer in this way. 

UN agencies are working with the government and NGOs to try to bridge the gap and increase access to vital anti-retrovirals.  We are calling for the International community to act, to get treatment and support to those who need it - and quickly.  We need to champion human rights and to help children and adults living with HIV and AIDS to carry on with dignity.  Without this support and investment, we can never achieve the goal of an HIV-free generation. 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Technician

£35200 per annum + Pension and holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Engine...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing specialist merchant co...

SThree: TRAINEE RECRUITMENT CONSULTANT - IT - LONDON

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £50k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 bus...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Mr. Cameron is beginning to earn small victories in Europe

Andrew Grice
Pakistani volunteers carry a student injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, at a local hospital in Peshawar  

The Only Way is Ethics: The paper’s readers and users of our website want different things

Will Gore
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'