Ebola Crisis Has Severe Impact On AIDS Response In Sierra Leone, UNDP Report Says 27/02/2015 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)According to an internal report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Fund Partnership team, the Ebola epidemic has virtually halted national HIV efforts in Sierra Leone. In particular, patients stopped their treatments and the supply chain was disrupted. Already stretched, the national AIDS response in Sierra Leone was “brought to its knees” by the Ebola crisis, according to the report, which found that about 20 percent of antiretroviral treatment (ART) patients are missing their clinic appointments, and prevention programmes have collapsed. At the same time, procurement and supply chain activities of the HIV programme have been “severely affected,” according to UNDP. “Some drugs might become quickly out of stock while other are at risk of expiry.” “Transportation and distribution capacity at the central level is overstretched by the need to transport Ebola supplies,” and HIV laboratory equipment has not been maintained, the report said. According to the UNDP website, UNDP has partnered with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since 2003 “to support implementation of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes in low and middle income countries, facilitating access to essential resources by countries that face constraints in directly receiving or managing such funding.” According to Dudley Tarlton, programme specialist, Health and Development at UNDP, the internal report filed from Liberia describes the effect of the Ebola virus on other, more common infectious diseases, in particular HIV. “Three key areas need to be strengthened so that countries can ensure the resilience to respond to multiple health crises. A strong health system, a well-established mechanism for community services and the engagement of non-health sectors are essential,” he told Intellectual Property Watch. The non-health sectors that can help build health resilience span the whole government, such as transportation, agriculture, education, and trade, he said. The international response should focus on helping national governments to strengthen those three areas, and to be ready to contain and address future outbreaks, Tarlton added. “UNDP’s role in crisis settings is often focused on the longer-term recovery, which is relevant for Ebola as we can already see the indirect effects that are likely to follow it,” he said. He described a food crisis, trade interruptions, economic contraction, and, as the report illustrates, severe disruption of already stretched HIV, TB and malaria programmes. “UNDP is working to facilitate collaboration between national governments and the Global Fund to help restore the AIDS response system in Ebola affected countries. These cascading crises will likely have a greater toll than the Ebola virus itself,” he added. Recommendations The report offers several recommendations, including: increasing HIV counselling and testing and focus on key procedures; reduce the ART patient default rate; restart prevention campaigns; provide uninterrupted minimum quality care to people living with HIV and AIDS; and strengthen data management. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Ebola Crisis Has Severe Impact On AIDS Response In Sierra Leone, UNDP Report Says" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.