terça-feira, junho 05, 2007

Crianças seropositvas em Moçambique

Mozambique: Aids Drugs Battle Against the Time Constraints of Poverty

At Quelimane hospital, in Mozambique's central province of Zambezia, paediatrician Maria João Soromenho encounters a sobbing young mother and her one year-old daughter. The baby is skeletal, no bigger than a newborn, and shows few signs of life.

The medical staff suspect the child is HIV-positive and suggest to the mother that she takes a blood test, but she wants to leave the hospital and take the child with her. Soromenho fears the mother will go to a traditional healer and now the doctor, too, begins to cry, and pleads with the mother to leave the child behind for treatment. The mother agrees.

"If the child survives, the mother will be back with her other children," Soromenho told IRIN. If so, it would be a rare victory.

Despite concerted efforts to expand HIV/AIDS treatment and make lifesaving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) available in every district of the country, the majority of Mozambicans eligible for medication are not coming for treatment.

While about 20 percent of eligible adults are on ARVs, only an estimated 5 percent of eligible children, or little more than 4,000 children, are on treatment, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

This discrepancy between adults and children reflects the greater vulnerability of children to the disease. The average HIV-positive adult can often go for many years before needing to start an ARV regime. Most HIV-positive children, however, need quick access to treatment to survive.

Since this rarely happens, less than half of the 37,000 children expected to be born HIV-positive in Mozambique this year will live beyond the age of two.



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