The 2011 Progress Report released by UNAIDS on November 30 says that Rwanda, along with Botswana and Namibia are the leading countries in the Sub-Saharan region to have significantly increased their citizens’ access to ART and care.
In a recent interview with The New Times, the Coordinator of HIV and STI’s care and treatment, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana disclosed that Rwanda’s access to ARTs was 93 percent in 2011.
According to the Director General of Rwanda Health Communication Centre, Arthur Asiimwe, the country managed to achieve the feat through decentralizing the distribution of the medication.
“We have put the treatment services at almost every health centre, which has enabled people to get free treatment if diagnosed and found HIV positive,” Asiimwe said.
The government has continued to establish a wide network of health centers and encouraged the population to voluntarily get tested to know their status.
Various donors, especially the Global Fund has extended financial support to developing countries to treat HIV and bring down infection rates.
However, there have been reports of embezzlement of the funds in some countries which compromised set targets in dealing with the scourge.
Rwanda’s strong demand for accountability and transparency has enabled the beneficiaries access the Anti-Retro Viral Treatment (ART’s) conveniently.
He also noted that ensuring accountability of both donors’ and government funds allocated for HIV treatment programmes, has enabled the country to serve more people.
John (not real name) lives with HIV/AIDS. The New Times found at Kigali Central Hospital (CHUK) and he shared his experience.
“In the past, we did not know much about the treatment, and many people would sit, waiting for their lives to end, in destitute,” he said.
“But through radio and TV programmes we know a lot about prevention and treatment as well as the available support.”
The universal access to ART report also reveals that cases of people being infected with HIV has reduced by 15 percent and AIDS related deaths also reduced by 22 percent in the last five years in the Sub-Saharan region.