19 September 2012

US committed to SA Aids response

South Africa will continue getting money from the United States Aids relief programme, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said.


South Africa will continue getting money from the United States Aids relief programme, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said. Replying to questions in the National Council of Provinces, he said the levels of funding would remain the same for the next two years.

Support would be reduced from 2014 through to 2017.

The US government supported South Africa's response to HIV through the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) programme. South Africa has been allocated the largest proportion of funding.

However, the US Congress took a decision in 2010 to significantly reduce funding to all countries through PEPFAR. As a result, support for South Africa's programmes would be reduced significantly over a five-year time frame.

The intention of the US government was to start effecting cuts in the budgets from September 2012, which was the end of the financial year for the US.

Committed to any programmes

"During my visit to Washington DC to attend the 19th International Aids Conference, I met with members of Congress and requested that funding levels from PEPFAR be kept stable over the next two years, thus giving South Africa sufficient time to plan the take-over of services.

"Consequently, South Africa will continue to receive the same levels of funding from PEPFAR over the next two years in 2013 and 2014, and support will be reduced from 2014 through to 2017," Motlanthe said.

This represented a reduction by 50% from $460 million to $250 million by 2017.

In recognition of South Africa's success in responding to HIV and Aids and the significant increases in the allocation of domestic funding to the HIV and TB National Strategic Plan, the US government had committed itself to continue supporting prevention programmes, strengthening health systems, as well as providing support for orphans and vulnerable children.

During her recent visit to South Africa, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once again expressed support to government as it strengthened its technical capacity, so that in terms of the new partnership agreement more could be done in the long run.

The US government also committed itself to providing support for any new evidence-based programmes if South Africa presented a strong case and motivated for new resources from the US.

(Sapa, September 2012)

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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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