24 August 2010

Activists sing against fund cut

Aids activists sang and chanted outside the gates of Parliament against calls for the Group of Eight countries and the Global Fund to cut back on spending on HIV.


Aids activists sang and chanted outside the gates of Parliament against calls for the Group of Eight countries and the Global Fund to cut back on spending on HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

"We are here to picket because the Global Fund and the G8 want to pull out of the fight against aids, TB and malaria," said Treatment Action Campaign provincial secretary Andile Madondile, who led the protest by around 500 activists.

"We want Parliament to take our fight forward to make sure that we still get this funding."

The Global Fund is currently facing a serious funding shortfall, with donors requesting that the programme lower it financial ambitions.

Placing blame on global financial crisis

G8 countries have been tightening budgets since the start of the global financial crisis.

A report on support for HIV/Aids by donor nations released by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and UN Aids said that in 2009, G8 nations, European Commission and other donor governments gave US 7.6 billion (now about R55.6 billion) for Aids efforts in developing nations, compared with US 7.7 billion (now about R56.35 billion) in 2008.

The Global Fund, created in 2002, has become a major source of finance for programmes to fight the TB, Aids and malaria with approved funding of US19.3 billion (about R141.2 billion) for more than 572 programmes in 144 countries, provides a quarter of all international financing for Aids.

The report came as the International HIV/Aids Alliance warned that the annual cost of tackling the HIV epidemic could balloon to US 35 billion (about R256 billion) by 2031 if governments fail to invest in "efficient, targeted and cost-effective prevention measures".

Hurting the response against Aids

UN Aids has warned that reductions in investment on Aids programmes are hurting the response against the pandemic at a time of results in the fight against HIV prevention and treatment.

Madondile said a cut in funding would make fighting the diseases "extremely difficult".

"It will make it very difficult to do HIV counselling and testing," he said.

"We need a serious commitment from the G8 countries that they will not cut back on the funding." (Sapa, August 2010)

Read more:

Funding threats to HIV treatment


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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