What we’re reading: News from Africa includes a shortage of medicine in Zimbabwe, health worker shortage in Uganda, and a policy brings a cold blast from the past in Zambia . . .

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South Africa: Take on government, challenge it to do more – As donors HIV dollars flatline, as if the hard part of fighting the pandemic is behind us, this op ed from South Africa Deputy President, and South African National AIDS Council co-chair Cyril Ramaphosa reminds his country, and the world, “there are still many hills to climb.” They include policies and laws that make people that include sexual minorities and people who earn income through sex work more vulnerable, deeply entrenched inequalities and gaps between people and health services. If those obstacles aren’t overturned, and the fight against HIV is lost, history will be harsh, he notes.

Zambia HIV testing decision sparks debate – Strong community resistance countered Zambia President Edgar Lungu’s pronouncement that people using public health clinics would be tested for HIV and treated without their consent, leading to a “clarification” that clinic staff would encourage people seeking services to be tested, and if diagnosed with the virus, to initiate treatment.  But neither the idea that  mandatory testing would advance Zambia’s progress against the epidemic, nor the resistance on the part of people affected by HIV and confronting the epidemic’s impacts on the ground are new; Zambian activists as well as ones in neighboring Malawi have fought that battle before. The premise underlying mandatory testing, that public health and human rights are inherently in opposition, shifts attention from the impacts of failing health systems and discriminatory policy environments to the most vulnerable individuals, making it likely we haven’t seen the last of mandatory testing proposals.

Zambia: Two men nabbed for gay act – And we haven’t seen the last of the public health and human rights impacts of anti-gay laws, either.

Zimbabwe: Drug-resistant HIV puts strain on national stocks – The good news is that Zimbabwe’s health system is detecting and responding to drug resistance, the bad news is that supply chains aren’t keeping pace with advances in monitoring patients’ health.

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