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Fears over AIDS project handover pacified

South Africa says there is no need for alarm over the gradual pullout by the international medical NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), from its five-year-old AIDS project in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

MSF recently announced plans to hand over full management of one of the country's most successful antiretroviral (ARV) rollout programmes to the Western Cape health department over the next two years.

Although the decision has created anxiety among HIV-positive recipients of ARVs in MSF's programme, Sibani Mngadi, a Ministry of Health spokesperson, was confident of the government's ability to accept the transfer of care.

"We've already taken over much of the programme and everything is still running smoothly. The drugs that are used are now provided by the government, and about 80 percent of the staff providing treatment in the affected sites are also employed by the government," he told the local Cape Argus newspaper.

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