CAR

Central African Republic: French NGO gets land to build HIV/AIDS centre

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BANGUI, 23 January (IRIN) - Hanuman, a French NGO campaigning against HIV/AIDS has acquired land on which an HIV therapy centre worth US $230,000 will be built. The land was granted by a presidential decree on Tuesday.
A leading figure in Hanuman, Bernard Leclerc, who is also an adviser to the Central African Republic (CAR) president, told IRIN on Wednesday that the centre was expected to begin operating in mid-2003.

The CAR and French physicians and researchers established Hanuman in 2001.

At the same time, the NGO is scheduled to sign an agreement with the University of Bangui later in January, to allow Professor Laurent Belec, the chairman of Hanuman, to transform the university's abandoned laboratories into specialised HIV/AIDS laboratories. The cost of rehabilitation and equipment for the project is estimated at $30,769.

The CAR is among the most HIV-affected nations in central Africa. It is ranked 10th worldwide among countries with 14 percent of their populations being HIV positive, according to Wilibiro Sacko, the coordinator of the CAR's national anti-AIDS committee.

Leclerc also said the NGO would this year sponsor eight specialists for training in France on computer-based HIV treatment and drug prescription. The trainees would include a physician, a pharmacist and a biologist. On their return home, Leclerc said, they would then train other medical specialists.

Leclerc told IRIN that Alliance Medica, a French pharmaceutical laboratory, had agreed to provide Bangui with six copies of NADIS computer software, a programme designed specially for HIV treatment.

He said the programme would help improve the quality of a patient's medical follow-up. "It enables the user to collect, manage and have access to the data necessary for a medical decision, facilitates clinical studies and research, as well as a global medical assessment," he added.

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