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Zimbabwe Health Minister Cites Obstacles To Scaling Up ARV Therapy

Zimbabwe Health Minister David Parirenyatwa is reported to have acknowledged this week that it will be difficult for the country to attain its target of putting 110,000 more HIV-positive people on life-saving antiretroviral drug therapy this year.

Reports quoted Dr. Parirenyatwa as saying that while the supply of ARVs is adequate to treat some 50,000 now enrolled, expanding that group is a challenge. The minister could not be reached immediately to confirm the reports of his speech.

Dr. Parirenyatwa was speaking at a ceremony organized by WishKids International, a U.S. organization that helps needy children and families affected by HIV-AIDS.

While thanking WishKids for its donation of medical equipment, Dr. Parirenyatwa urged Zimbabweans abroad to help fight AIDS by funding the purchase of medical supplies to ensure the continued treatment of those on ARV regimens.

For further insight into the problem, reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Executive Director Itai Rusike of the Community Working Group On Health, who said Harare should recruit private sector partners.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...