News 24 reported that South Africa's ambitious HIV/Aids treatment plan was lagging behind as the government struggled to plug a shortage of doctors and pharmacists and other professionals needed to fight the HIV/Aids pandemic. For two consecutive years, the government failed to hit its target of providing free antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to 53 000 South Africans by March, even though President Thabo Mbeki had described the programme as "the best in the world".
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