WHO delivers anti-retroviral drugs to Libyans
Libya’s collapsed medical services, one of the consequences of the on-going civil war and political unrest in the beleaguered North African country, have forced the WHO to distribute anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs to Libyans living with HIV.
After the start of the country’s civil war in 2011, rates of HIV have continued to rise.
A recent World Health Organisatilysis of the country’s health system indicates a general collapse in medical services, including a lack of drugs.
Severe shortages of ARV drugs are threatening the lives of those with HIV and have even led to public protests demanding that Libya’s Ministry of Health take immediate action to resolve the problem.
The ministry subsequently reached out to the WHO for support in drug procurement and distribution. So far, the WHO has provided three months of drugs to some 450 patients.
The agency is working closely with the health ministry to develop and implement surveillance and health system assessment mechanisms, particularly those regarding blood safety.
The initiative is intended to reinstate the HIV-related infrastructure that was halted at the start of the war in 2011.
Last year, there were 6 330 registered HIV patients in Libya. Ten people, aged 18 or 19, died due to a 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.
For years, cultural barriers and stigmatisation have impeded effective HIV prevention programmes.
In order to meet its goals, the WHO is requesting $1.2 million from donors, which would allow the agency to guarantee a supply of ARV drugs throughout 2017.
Meanwhile, in another development Libya’s Rada Special Deterrence Force, reported that it had recently captured the leader of a gang of kidnappers and freed two victims who had been held for 46 days.
Following a stakeout Rada, together with other security forces, launched a dawn assault on a farm in Ain Zara in Tripoli, the Libya Herald reported on Tuesday.
The successful freeing of the hostages followed the earlier arrest of one of the gang members who had revealed the gang’s hideout to security forces.
During their captivity the hostages had been tortured by their kidnappers as the gang members tried to extort a ransom from their families.
When they were found they reported that they had been tied up and chained to the wall for the duration of their ordeal.
Rada is pursuing the other members of the gang as kidnapping continues to be a serious problem in Libya.
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