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[e-drug] Lancet on Pan-African HIV/AIDS Treatment Access Movement

  • Subject: [e-drug] Lancet on Pan-African HIV/AIDS Treatment Access Movement
  • From: Rachel_COHEN@msf.org
  • Date: Sun, 1 Sep 2002 03:49:15 -0400 (EDT)

E-drug: Lancet on Pan-African HIV/AIDS Treatment Access Movement

  Lancet 31 August 2002

      Policy and people

      New African movement for HIV/AIDS patients launched at Summit

      African governments and multinational drug companies can expect
      increased pressure for access to affordable antiretroviral treatment
      following the launch of the Pan-African HIV/AIDS Treatment Access
      Movement (PHATAM) on the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable
      Development (WSSD) on Aug 22.

      The movement, kickstarted by 70 African AIDS activists from 21
      countries, will campaign for access to affordable HIV/AIDS treatment
      as a fundamental part of care for people with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

      Milly Katana, PHATAM cofounder and a member of the Board of the Global
      Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, said, "we are angry.
      Our people are dying. We can no longer accept millions of needless
      AIDS deaths simply because we are poor Africans. We know
      antiretroviral treatment is feasible in our countries and are
      launching a movement to demand treatment that won't take 'no' for an

      Leading AIDS activist and PHATAM cofounder, Zackie Achmat, said the
      summit "must recognise that without a healthy population we cannot
      have development. Health is a prerequisite for sustainable
      development-and access to AIDS treatment in Africa is the key to
      improving health".

      A key role of the movement is to hold national governments and
      international groups involved in providing HIV treatment accountable
      for the development and implementation of national HIV/AIDS treatment
      plans, he said.

      PHATAM has called for African countries to implement the World Trade
      Organisation's Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
      agreement, which insists that wealthy nations allow countries with
      limited drug manufacturing capacity to purchase low-cost, generic
      versions of patented medicines.

      "People with HIV/AIDS in Africa are fed up with the international
      community's broken promises", said Eric Goemaere, head of mission for
      M�decins Sans Fronti�res in South Africa, which is providing treatment
      in Khayelitsha, a poor township in the Western Cape.

      "They are tired of hearing about pilot projects. The time to scale-up
      is long overdue and this will only be possible with political action
      at the national and international level. This community-based movement
      must provoke the necessary political response."

      PHATAM is planning a Global Day of Protests on Oct 9 to demand that
      donor countries make contributions proportionate to their wealth to
      the Global Fund. This will be followed by a campaign targeting
      multinational companies on Oct 17 demanding treatment for all
      HIV-positive workers and their families.

      Adele Baleta

Rachel M. Cohen
U.S. Advocacy Liaison
Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines
Doctors Without Borders/M�decins Sans Fronti�res (MSF)
6 East 39th Street, 8th Floor * New York, NY 10016 * USA

Tel: +1-212-655-3762
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