AIDS reduces life expectancy in Zimbabwe

Harare- Zimbabwe (PANA) -- Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is expected to drop from the current 44 years to 27 years in the next 10 years due to AIDS, UNICEF said Tuesday.
The UN agency said Zimbabwe, where an estimated 5,000 people die every week from AIDS, was one of the countries worst affected by the incurable disease.
It estimates that up to a million children will be orphaned by AIDS in the next four years alone, in addition to the sharp reduction in life expectancy.
But Zimbabwean health officials, while admitting the gravity of the AIDS crisis in the country, said UNICEF projections were too drastic.
They argued that the estimate did not take into account medical and educational interventions the authorities were making.
"These figures (from UNICEF) are a bit of an exaggeration and need to take into context the intervention measures," said Deputy Health Minister David Parirenyatwa.
Zimbabwe has applied to be allowed to import cheaper copy versions of AIDS drugs, and last month slashed prices on AIDS medicines after some international companies agreed to supply it with the less expensive drugs.
But UNICEF said growing poverty in the southern African country will compound its AIDS problem, which has reduced life expectancy level from 62 years in 1990 to 44 years now.

12 june 2001 17:21:00

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