Botswana Seeking Technical Assistance From Brazilian HIV/AIDS Program
Officials from Botswana are negotiating a deal with the Brazilian Ministry of Health that would bring Brazil's HIV/AIDS treatment model to the African nation, Kyodo News reports. Under the agreement, Botswanan medical workers would be trained by Brazilian health professionals, and Brazil would export the technology it uses to produce generic AIDS drugs to Botswana. The Brazilian Ministry of Health manufactures generic versions of patented AIDS drugs in local laboratories as part of its national HIV/AIDS program, lowering the annual cost of treatment to about $1,000 per person. Brazil has reduced new infections from 20,000 to 15,000 this year through the "aggressive" program. Brazil's tactics had raised strong objections from pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. government, but opposition has decreased since a declaration this fall by the World Trade Organization that said international patent rights "do not take precedence over public health crises." Brazil has already signed cooperation agreements with Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, and six other African countries have inquired about establishing medical exchange programs with Brazil. Botswana has an adult HIV infection rate of about 36%; in total, nearly 300,000 people out of a population of 1.6 million are thought to be infected (Kyodo News, 12/15).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.