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[afro-nets] 5 is ending where are the 3? (5)

5 is ending where are the 3? (5)

Dear Peter,

We were quite excited when we heard about the 3 x 5 and had
hopes that it will enable 3 million on treatment, but we have
witnessed at least nearly to that much of dead bodies. Big mon-
ies have been promised for the development countries so that
they can scale up their efforts to minimize or eradicate
HIV/AIDS effects, especially South of Sahara where I am.

We have been told do community mobilization; intensify treatment
literacy, carryout this and that in preparation for a roll out
of (3x5) treatment. To date we have just learnt it was pure 3x5
on paper not in practice. We don't want to blame a noble idea
but sadly it failed and its failure means more people dying. I
have lost more than 15 people this year only very close to me
and I know and have seen a thousand more that are very sick and
need treatment urgently.

Last week I was invited to attend a Care & Treatment Forum for
our country. I was not feeling very well but told myself if I
collapse in that meeting then it will knock sense in someone's
head. Its planning and analysis one after the other without any
tangible things, till I started crying, something I have never
done before in a meeting of that nature. Our AIDS & TB Unit is
seating on 67 Billion Zim Dollars, why are you not buying drugs
with this money ? Simple answer, we need forex. In the meeting
there was UNAIDS, UNDP, WHO, MSF Luxemburg, and UNICEF, National
AIDS Council and a CCM representatives. UN agencies in our coun-
try have access to foreign currency why don't they get the local
currency and give AIDS & TB Unit the much needed forex so that
they could buy drugs?

The reserve Bank Governor promised that he will every month re-
lease 2 million US Dollars for drugs in Zimbabwe. To date he has
not released a cent towards drugs. UN Agencies should demon-
strate that they work closely with the Government. I am made to
understand this and it means some evil that Governments do to-
wards their people they somewhat turn a blind eye. Community
people like me are good to grace their meetings and as usual
walk away sick and they drive away in their Pajeros. I think we
have reached the climax of insensitivity by institutions that
advocate best practices and don't put them to use. This is just
a tip of an ice berg of what is happening in most developing
countries. Our Politicians and Policy Leaders for example have
made a lot of commitment that they have lived not up to.

We are strongly trying our level best to empower the communities
themselves burdened with the disease to take it upon themselves
to seek treatment and learn the tricks of the virus as it gets
in their bodies(immunity) and what they can do to live with it
or stop its replication (victory over our lives). Over the last
two years passionate individuals who have either lost their
loved ones or have sick people in homes, communities came to-
gether to share ideas and best practices and make it possible to
at least save a life, through the small grant initiative being
run by ITPC through its collaboration with Tides Foundation.
Though this has just started we are very hopeful that its sup-
ported communities will scale up their efforts.

UNAIDS, UNDP, WHO need to learn from International Treatment
Preparedness Coalition how to practically work with communities.
The official relief and development assistance (ORDA) should
seek to work directly with burdened communities in Asia, Africa,
the Caribbean to mention just a few. The success of programs are
better felt at community level, this is where we need drugs,
this where we need IEC on prevention treatment etc.; this is
where we are.

In Government offices and big offices you will always find tech-
nical people planning and planning and when you go down to
grassroots you will find people struggling to live. Unfortu-
nately big programs satisfy planners at high levels but normally
don't addresses felt needs of grassroots. For example what we
need now is drugs (ARVs) and food. Centres of excellence and
monitoring programs can come where there are people breathing
and surviving. Other places where there are internal conflicts
needs shelter too. Just like Gregg said earlier one feels like
dumping all the dead people with AIDS on the door steps of these
Global Fund Doors, UNAIDS, UNDP, WHO doors so that they start
acting not talking.

PLWHA for example in Zimbabwe, we live from hand to mouth and
only a few have skills of using local available natural re-
sources but we wish they could share these ideas because that's
sustainable. For the first time of my 11 years of living with
HIV I feel like being punished for being HIV positive, the world
needs to know we did not choose to be HIV positive. As such
their programs should respond in human like manner, that demon-
strate they love other people lives as much as theirs. We are
not giving up though we will fight to the end! We are hopeful
that someone somewhere will fulfil the promise AND STOP AIDS! By
giving the ARVs and treatment to the millions of women, children
and men all races and colours in developing countries.

Believe Dhliwayo
Zimbabwe Activists Against HIV & AIDS
Vital Hope Support Group
9 Newport Road, Greencroft
Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel:  +263-4-333-917
Cell: +263-23-693-050 

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