HIV / AIDS is a major threat to the very fabric of society in Mozambique. There are 1.4 Million people in Mozambique who are HIV positive and over 400.000 children orphaned by AIDS.
Keelin Shanley spends a day in the biggest general hospital in the capital of Mozambique, Maputo, where all patients are assumed to be HIV positive and where resources are so scarce, that surgical gloves and other disposable materials have to be used on more than one patient.
Tonight's programme looks at the challenges that are faced by the Mozambiquan government and the donor agencies as they try to treat HIV AIDS with ARV (Anti Retro Viral) Drugs that can save lives in developed countries but are difficult to administer to patients living in absolute poverty.
These drugs need to be taken properly and for life every patient under proper medical supervision and with food. An almost impossible task given that 78% of the population lives on less than US$2 per day.
Regular meals, purchasing drugs and visits to the doctor are not possible for most people. The horror is that the AIDS virus could mutate and render the only existing treatment useless. This programme will focus on the Provision of Primary Health Care with a particular emphasis on HIV AIDS.
Mozambique is of particular interest here given the involvement of DCI in the area and the recent agreement that was reached to put in place an Anti Retro Viral Drug programme. The programme is in its infancy and Mozambique is only beginning to tackle what is a very real problem for the country. The social challenges are the greatest with the majority of poor rural Mozambican unwilling to admit that the problem exists.
HIV AIDs is devastating the population of Sub Saharan Africa. It is a cause of incredible misery and presents a serious threat to the future development of Africa. Having officially recognised the problem with the establishment of the millennium goals, the international community is only now beginning to do something about the problem.