A message from Dr Lisa Ramakrishnan, Founder: Vantage Health
Once a hopeless diagnosis for those afflicted with HIV is now treatable for as little as $87 per person each year. Infected Africans on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can now live almost as long as those who are HIV negative. A positive story.
International NGO’s estimate that only five million Africans receive such treatment. At least ten million people on the continent, mainly women and children, remain in desperate need of it. In Swaziland, a nation gripped by an unprecedented economic crisis, the stocks of ARV’s have simply run out in rural areas.
The bitter truth today, as you read this, is that HIV+ women and children, in need of life-saving medication, are being turned away because of funding cuts, poor distribution and an over-reliance on foreign manufacturers of the drugs that provide them with a life-line. This cannot be allowed to continue on our watch.
As a Doctor I have made it my life’s mission to break the mould that binds a continent and engage Africa in a programme of self-determination that will end the dominance of major pharmaceutical firms and foreign donors in what has become the cut-throat globalised business of HIV.
My mission statement is both simple and compelling: by 2014 my firm, Vantage Health, will begin construction of factories in Sub-Saharan and east Africa, in partnership with technology firms from China and India, to establish local production of ARV medicines. By 2015 Vantage Health will be helping Africans make ARV’s for Africa.