45,000 Rwandans on Aids treatment – report


Kayonga (right) and Binagwaho during the launch or the report at Kigali Serena Hotel yesterday. (Photo / J. Mbanda)

KIGALI - The Treatment and Research Aids Centre (TRAC) has released a report on the use of drugs for HIV/Aids treatment in the country.

The report titled, ‘The Evaluation of Clinical Immunologic outcomes from the National Antiretroviral Treatment Programme in Rwanda’ was launched yesterday at Kigali Serena Hotel.

It highlights among others the mortality rate, body weights and the number of white blood cells (CD4 cell count) for adult and young Aids patients on the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) between January, 2004 to December, 2007.

The report says that by the end of last month over 45,000 adult patients had been initiated on ART. Their mortality rate was at 4.6 percent, the report adds.

According to the report, the number of white blood cell (CD4 cell count) for patients who were retained had median change of up to 199 cells. For patients with available follow-up information, their average 52kg body weight (for females) had increased by one kg. It didn’t change for male patients, remaining at 75 kg.

The report further shows that over the 200 children patients initiated on ART by the end of last year, 2.6 percent have died. Those who lost to follow-up for treatment and transferred out of their initial health centres both tied at 3.8 percent, but none had stopped treatment. Their median CD4 cell count increments were 236 from 223 cells for children between two and fourteen years old.

However, the report shows lack of active tracing programmes of patients lost to follow-up as likely cause underestimation of children mortality rate.

The report points out the lack of differences in time between ART initiation to documented death among adult and children patients.

It recommends a quick implementation of accurate national evaluation and surveillance strategy for ART adherence, transmission and acquisition.

‘This will help for standardised assessment of the AIDS drug use among the patients which is supposed to be included in routine data collection,’ the report reads in part.

The Secretary General (SG) in the Ministry of Health, Caroline Kayonga presided over the launch of the report yesterday. TRAC Director General, Dr Anita Asiimwe, TRAC-PLUS (Center for Infectiuos Disease Control) Prof. Michael Kramer and the Executive Secretary of the National Aids Control Commission (CNLS), Dr Agnes Binagwaho as well as donor representatives attended the function.

Kayonga attributed the improved ART services to the decentralisation of the health system.