24 March 2008 Comments
Since 2007, MSF has been successfully treating patients with HIV/AIDS at Kindamba hospital, a small and very basic rural healthcare facility.
In some cases patients have been pulled from the brink of death to become functioning human beings again, after only a few months of treatment. The transformations can be startling. Not only do the patients benefit, so do their families and communities.
The Kindamba hospital program shows that HIV/AIDS can be treated effectively in rural Africa. It doesn’t take much. The solar-powered lab facilities are basic – only CD4 counts and liver function tests are needed here.
Patients take inexpensive, high-quality generic HIV drugs. This is the key – using generic drugs allows MSF to treat more patients.
It’s also possible to treat people more effectively with generics. A single generic formulation can combine several different drugs that otherwise would have to be taken separately. This makes it easier for patients to take their medication.
And after MSF leaves, generic drugs remain affordable to governments that are motivated to continue providing treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS. When MSF withdraws from Congo, the Kindamba patients will continue their treatment at the government hospital in Mindouli, about 80km away.
None of this would be possible with expensive, patented HIV medicines. Visit the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines website to learn why [http://www.accessmed-msf.org].
Dr. Sam is a Congolese physician who has worked with MSF in Kindamba since 2006. He is a short, round-faced laughing Buddha of a guy, probably one of the warmest people I have ever met in my life. If someone mentions his name, you start feeling better right away. Here he talks about treating HIV/AIDS at Kindamba hospital.