Brazil to Help African Countries Make Their Own AIDS Drugs

Brazilian generic drugs Brazil will help build medication factories in Mozambique and Nigeria, and provide technical training in the health field – especially doctors and nurses – in those two countries, and also in Angola. To that extent, a protocol of intentions was signed by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras.

"Generally speaking, Africa, faces big problems in access to medication, mostly antiretrovirals, which are used in the treatment of AIDS," said the Fiocruz president, Paulo Buss. Buss said a National Public Health Institute will be built in Mozambique, and another in Angola, which he called "mini-Fiocruz."

According to him, the partnership with Petrobras, a company that has economic interests in the African continent, where it explores oil fields, is part of the Brazilian foreign policy for the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) and of the South American community.

The president at Fiocruz estimates that each medication factory will take from two-and-a-half to three years to be completed, and will cost US$ 20 million. He said that in Mozambique there already is a large-sized factory that manufactures serums, and will be reformed in order to make pills.

According to the director at the Fiocruz Technology Institute Farmanguinhos, Eduardo Costa, the first three medications to be produced will be anti-AIDS antiretrovirals: Lamivudine, Nevirapine, and Stavudine.

Costa suggested that, until production of medication starts in Africa, Petrobras might collaborate by sending medications made in Brazil.

Buss said that the creation of the Angola Public Health School will become possible through the training of the upper echelon of health system directors, currently being provided onsite by Fiocruz technicians. In Mozambique, according to him, the teachers' masters course will begin in March 2008.

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