13 March 2018

Libya: ARVS Shortage Hits Conflict-Torn Libya

Tripoli — AT least one person has died of HIV/AIDS complications and seven others admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) as a result of shortages of anti-retroviral (ARVs) medicines in Libya.

The crisis has been reported in the second largest city of Benghazi where the catastrophe has been aggravated by the seven-year-old conflict.

Incessant conflict has led to the gradual collapse of the health system.

The ARVs emergency has been confirmed at the Benghazi Centre for Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Most families of people living with HIV struggle to afford the cost of treatment.

In Benghazi, more than 400 people living with HIV, including children, receive treatment at the centre in Benghazi. In 2018, they did not receive their treatment due to the acute shortage of the life-saving ARV drugs.

"This is a clear indication of the critical situation these individuals are going through," said Dr Jaffar Hussain, World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Libya.

Last year, WHO provided the Benghazi centre with ARVs sufficient for the over 400 patients to cover the treatment for a year.

The health agency provided the centre with two shipments in the previous year.

The North African country has struggled to regain stability after an uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. At least 500 people were killed in the protests against the government.

The uprising started in Benghazi, which was also the epicentre of the civil war in 2014.

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