26 October 2012

More funding for HIV/Aids programmes

A reduction in United States donor funding will see National Treasury allocating more money to the fight against HIV/Aids.


A reduction in United States donor funding will see National Treasury allocating more money to the fight against HIV/Aids.

The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), tabled in Parliament on Thursday, shows the health budget adjusted slightly upwards for this financial year to R121.7 billion. The increased spending on the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/Aids follows an agreement between Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this year.

The agreement outlines how South Africa would take over programmes funded by the US, seen by many as a sign of confidence in the South African government's ability to manage the pandemic. The increased amount to be allocated to the HIV/Aids programmes will only be announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan next February.

The MTBPS shows spending on healthcare moderating over the next three years, reaching R30 bn by 2015/16, an average annual increase of 7.5%. Previous years saw the health budget expand by close to 16%.

Year-on-year increase on funding

The MTBPS says the year-on-year expenditure increase is due to "the growth of the HIV and Aids conditional grant, the commencement of new conditional grants for NHI and nursing colleges, and transfer payments being made to public entities earlier in the year".

National Treasury has also issued a warning to those in the public health sector, demanding more value for money.

"Given the constrained fiscal environment, the health sector has to seek greater efficiency and improve financial management, with particular emphasis on critical inputs such as medicines and medical supplies," according to the statement.

(Sapa, October 2012)

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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