|UNICEF procures a range of antiretroviral medicines and HIV test kits that are prequalified by the World Health Organization.|
COPENHAGEN, Denmark/NIAMEY, Niger, 22 August 2005 - In addition to the on-going food emergency, Niger is facing a shortage of antiretroviral medicines (ARVs). This crisis requires immediate assistance as people who take ARVs should not stop the treatment, even for one day.
On Monday 14 August, the National Coordination Cell against HIV/AIDS called UNICEF Supply Division for urgent assistance. Could UNICEF send 2,000 packages of ARV to Niger by the end of the week to ensure that patients with HIV/AIDS could continue their life-saving treatment? On Friday 19 August, four days after the phone call, UNICEF delivered the medicines in Niamey, the capital of Niger. The 2,000 packages represent enough treatments for 2,000 persons for one month. This will give the Government of Niger the time needed to order more treatments for the long-term. The ARVs are funded by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
This emergency intervention was made possible by the small stock of ARVs that UNICEF Supply Division keeps in its warehouse in Copenhagen. Any time or day of the week, these treatments can be airfreigthted to any place in the world to prevent a stock-out of medicines. Forecasting the needs for ARV remains a complex task, and shortages remains a common occurence. Niger is one of the 40 countries that has received ARVs procured by UNICEF through its Procurement Services.