‘Cyclone Idai Destroyed ARVs For Over 1 million People’

ABOUT 1 , 1 million people living with HIV were left stranded without access to antiretroviral medication in the Cyclone Idai distressed countries, a top United Nations official said on Monday.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

Briefing the media, UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller said they were concerned about people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe living with HIV who lost their medication.

“The imminent loss of antiretroviral medication to some 1, 1 million people is particularly alarming,” she said.
She also bemoaned the poor access to healthcare by people in the countries that were hit by the Cyclone Idai.

“People are struggling to buy medicines and access healthcare. This is particularly distressing for people living with HIV who face the dilemma of being able to access drugs.

“And even if they can access them, they are not able to properly absorb them on an empty stomach,” she said.

She also said they managed to secure less than half of the required amount they appealed for the Humanitarian Assistance for Cyclone Idai.

“In the initial stages of the response to Cyclone Idai, the Government, Private sector and humanitarian partners came together to provide critical assistance to more than 230 000 people. Three months on, the United Nations and its partners have received 40 percent of funds they appealed for to respond to the impact of Cyclone Idai,” she said. “Humanitarian appeal asked for US$294 million. This is required to address lifesaving needs of cyclone and drought affected populations.”

Mueller said the overall humanitarian appeal remains critically underfunded.

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