Funding cuts by donors could cause a shortage of drugs for AIDS patients in Mozambique next year, activists have warned. This will undermine gains in curbing the disease's spread.
The southern African country has 60 percent of the drugs needed for next year for the 250,000 people currently on treatment, said Julio Mujojo of Rensida, the National Network to Support People Living with HIV/AIDS.
"The consequences would be disastrous. Many people will lose their lives due to lack of treatment and others will have to stop the treatment, risking life and developing resistance to the therapy," he told AFP.
In a statement with six other AIDS organisations, Rensida blamed the shortage on "reductions of the Global Fund to combat HIV/AIDS, as a result of the global financial crisis that has been affecting the world for the past three years".
The Global Fund said last week that it was cancelling this year's appeal to donors after receiving a shortfall in pledges last year, because the world financial crisis forced rich countries to cut spending.
"It is a deep blow in the fight against HIV/AIDS, if we look at the fact that Mozambique has had gains in this fight in the past years, especially the reduction of deaths and new infections," said Alexandre Muinga, chairman of Coalizao, a youth network.
The government announced Thursday that the number of new infections has dropped from 500 a day in 2005 to 350 a day now.
Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world, has battled more general shortages of medications for months, as donors have trimmed back funding to the government, pointing to a steady decline in funds allocated to health in the national budget.
Periodic medicine shortages have hit Mozambique from 2009. Scandal erupted earlier this year when the health ministry admitted to giving expired medicines to patients.