Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News

Donor fatigue is slashing access to AIDS care in Africa, warns charity

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c2844 (Published 27 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2844

Rapid Response:

Ensuring donor satisfaction for HIV and AIDS treatment in Africa

Dear Editor

I would like to commend the Médecins Sans Frontières for the
important research they have conducted to illustrate the disconcerting
trend of major international funding agencies that have been capping,
reducing or withdrawing their spending on HIV treatment and antiretroviral
drugs over the past 18 months. Also, to Peter Moszynski for reporting on
the major findings of this research in the news review “Donor fatigue is
slashing access to AIDS care in Africa, warns charity” published in the
BMJ on the 29th May 2010. Above all, I would like to agree with the
author’s use of the term donor fatigue.

Globally, we are all very aware of the devastating effects of HIV and
AIDS, a burden most sorely felt in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are bombarded
with statistics of the infected and dying, we see the heartbreaking
pictures and are overwhelmed by the painful stories of individuals,
families and communities in their fight against HIV and AIDS. However, as
mentioned by the author there is no quick solution or cure for HIV and
AIDS. The statistics, the pictures and stories are forever here to stay,
and where donor’s may feel fatigued with this human plight, it is the
responsibility of funded countries, governments, researcher’s and health
care workers to remind funders of the many successes, the research
findings and interventions, the lives changed, the pictures of hope and
the stories of overcoming – and fill them with a sense of donor
satisfaction. A state where donors are invigorated and inspired by their
ability to relieve and alleviate human suffering through the use of their
resources(Knobloch Coetzee & Klopper, 2010).

I am a nurse researcher from South Africa where it is estimated that
5.3 million South Africans are HIV positive (news24.com, 2010). The
capping, reducing or withdrawing of major international research funding
agencies will result in a six-fold cut of new patients being able to start
ARV treatment in South Africa (Médecins Sans Frontières, 2010). This is
truly a backward move, as not only will this decision result in more
deaths, but it will slow down further achievements in the fight against
HIV and AIDS. In South Africa we have truly progressed in a major way,
with the development and acceptance of national clinical guidelines in
2010 for the management of HIV and AIDS in Adults, Adolescents and
Children, Prevention of Mother–to-Child Transmission, and Antiretroviral
Treatment Guidelines (South Africa, 2010). Also, beginning this year,
nurses are being trained with the specific competency of providing
antiretroviral treatment, and even at the baccalaureate level the
inclusion of these competencies in the curriculum are being explored. We
are putting structures in place to ensure HIV and AIDS treatment scale-up,
we are doing research to improve access and success in HIV and AIDS
treatment, and we are making a difference in suffering people’s lives, one
by one, but we can only do so with donors continued support and funding.

1. Knobloch, S & Klopper, H.C. Compassion fatigue in the nursing
practice: A concept analysis. NHS, 2010, 12(2):235-243.

2. Médecins Sans Frontières. 2010. Press release: Donor retreat
widens HIV/AIDS treatment gap in Africa. (Available:
http://www.msf.org.uk/donor_retreat_20100525.news) Date of Access: 7 June
2010.

3. Moszynski, P. Donor fatigue is slashing access to AIDS care in
Africa, warns charity. BMJ 2010;340:c2844.

4. News24.com. New ARV guidelines in place. (Available:
http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/AidsFocus/New-ARV-guidelines-in-place-
20100406) Date of Access: 7 June 2010.

5.South Africa. Department of Health. 2010. Clinical
Guidelines for the Management of HIV & AIDS in Adults and Adolescents.
Available (http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/index.html) Date of Access: 7 June
2010.

6. South Africa. Department of Health. 2010. The South African
Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines. Available
(http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/index.html) Date of Access: 7 June 2010.

7. South Africa. Department of Health. 2010. Guidelines for the
Management of HIV in Children. 2nd ed. Available
(http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/index.html) Date of Access: 7 June 2010.

8. South Africa. Department of Health. 2010. Clinical Guidelines:
PMTCT (Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission) Available
(http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/index.html) Date of Access: 7 June 2010.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 June 2010
Siedine Knobloch Coetzee
Research Project Manager
2531
North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), Potchefstroom, South Africa