As local authorities' campaign of intimidation against PIUMA and its advisors grows, more PIUMA members are dying for lack of proper care.
Another two men, aged 35 and 30, who had been registered at the PIUMA/EAWM care and treatment centre in Bulongwa were reported to have died yesterday. This brings the total to more than 20 PIUMA members dead since the PIUMA/EAWM HIV clinic at Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital was closed by church and hospital offcials last April.
Since they began demanding accountability from local church and hospital officials for money stolen from the health care system, PIUMA members report that they are afraid to go to Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital for care. This was compounded by recent reports that the hospital was dispensing expired anti-retroviral drugs to PIUMA members and other patients.
Two weeks ago, PIUMA representatives brought these problems to the attention of the Prime Minister of Tanzania at a public meeting in Bulongwa along with questions about the disappearance of Global Fund money earmarked for Makete District. Subsequent to that meeting, PIUMA members have been subject to intense police scrutiny.
"We have had numerous reports that HIV patients were not being monitored properly by the clinic at Bulongwa Lutheran Hospital since we were locked out in April," says Dr. Rainer Brandl. "I am really troubled that people who were under my care are not being given adequate medical support."
PIUMA and its partners offer their sincerest condolences to the families of the latest HIV patients to die.
October 8, 2006.