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More money needed to treat young HIV/Aids patients: govt

More money needed to treat young HIV/Aids patients: govt

Despite generous funding from various global funds, tackling the growing problem of children with HIV/Aids will require $7 million a year

CHILDREN WITH HIV

In 2007 there were approximately 1,008 children who were tested for HIV and 592 HIV-positive children who received anti-retroviral treatment at the National Paediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh, said Chhour Y Meng, the hospital’s director.

CAMBODIA needs at least US$7 million per year to strengthen HIV and Aids services and treatment, particularly for children, said Mean Chhivoan, the director of National Centre for HIV/Aids, Dermatology and STDs (NCHADS).

"So far, we have received funding from three different sources, including the Universal Fund, the Clinton Foundation and from the national budget," to provide HIV/Aids services, he said.

"We are trying hard to find more funding," he added.

The Clinton Foundation has been funding NCHADs since 2005 and has guaranteed funding until 2009, Mean Chhivoan said, adding that he hoped that the support will continue due to the successful implementation of services.

For every 1,000 HIV-positive children, we only have enough drugs to treat 600.

"To date, the Clinton Foundation has provided Cambodia with treatment drugs worth approximately $2 milllion to $3 million," he said.
"We have a lot of organisations supporting us, however, the Clinton Fund is very important because it specifically helps children with HIV," he said.

"They have also provided four specialist staff to help HIV-positive children at the National Paediatric Hospital."

More funding required

But Mean Chhivoan said that Cambodia needs to find further sources of funding to support continuing HIV and Aids treatment programs.

"We have applied for $120 million from the Universal Fund to support three NCHADS projects over the next five years: HIV, tuberculosis and malaria," he said. "We lodged the application in June 2008 and have been told that we will need to wait two or three months" to find out whether this has been approved.

According to a report compiled by NCHADS, in 2003 there were 2,805 HIV-positive children receiving treatment in 27 health centres nationwide, compared to 26,661 HIV-positive adults receiving treatment from 50 health centres.

Chhour Y Meng, director of the National Paediatric Hospital, said the facility received anti-retroviral treatment drugs from both the Clinton Foundation and the Universal Fund.

However, he said that the supply has not been enough to treat all children. "For every 1,000 HIV-positive children we only have enough drugs to treat 600 and that is not enough."

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