The World Health Organisation, WHO, said that 6,330 HIV patients
registered in Libya in 2016. The UN Health Agency said in a statement
that 10 people also died in the out-gone year as a result of inability
to access anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.
“Last year, there were 6,330 registered HIV patients in Libya; 10 people aged 18 or 19, died due to lack of ARV drugs.
“Many other patients have been forced to scale back on their drug
regimens, meaning that many are now in the advanced stages of the
disease and that they face increasingly high mortality rates.”
The global health body said just a few weeks ago, it began distributing
much-needed ARV drugs to patients living with HIV in Libya, following
the country’s collapse in medical services and inability to provide
“After the start of the country’s civil war in 2011, rates of HIV have continued to rise.
“A recent WHO analysis of the country’s health system indicates a
general collapse in medical services, including a lack of drug
“Severe shortages of ARV drugs are threatening the lives of those with
HIV and have even led to public protests demanding that the Ministry of
Health take immediate action to resolve the problem.’’
It said following the pressure on the ministry, it subsequently reached
out to WHO for support in drug procurement and distribution.
According to it, so far, WHO has provided three months of drugs to some 450 patients?
“The agency is working closely with the Ministry to develop and
implement surveillance and health system assessment mechanisms,
particularly those regarding blood safety,’’ WHO said.
WHO said the initiative was intended to reinstate the HIV-related
infrastructure that was halted at the start of the war in 2011.
“For years, cultural barriers and stigmatisation have impeded effective HIV prevention programmes.
“The WHO is advocating for universal access to HIV treatment and care by
focusing on planning, surveillance, and delivery of healthcare services
to HIV patients in order to undermine some of these barriers.
“In order to meet its goals, the WHO is requesting 1.2 million dollars
from donors, which would allow the agency to guarantee a supply of ARV
drugs throughout 2017.”