AIDS activists from South Africa are
calling on the Obama administration to keep its pledge to boost funding for
month, the administration outlines its proposed spending for PEPFAR and the
Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The activists say early indications are the proposals fall short of
what's needed. They say only $100
million has been proposed for PEPFAR and no increase in spending for the Global
Fund. VOA has requested a response from
Africa's largest AIDS activist organization, the Treatment Action Campaign
(TAC), has sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton asking for her support. Mrs. Clinton recently visited South Africa.
of those signing the letter is Paula Akugizibwe of the AIDS and Rights Alliance
for Southern Africa in Cape Town.
the moment we are seeing across the region…and across the world that the
economic crisis has triggered some cutbacks in allocations to funding for
health, and particularly for HIV and TB," she says.
Seeing the effects
have already seen budget cuts. And we're
seeing moratoriums placed on patients being enrolled into treatment for
HIV. And what this basically means is
that people don't have access to life saving treatment," she says.
2005, at Gleneagles, Scotland, G8 leaders pledged to make universal access to
treatment available by 2010.
\At July's summit in L'Aquila, Italy, leaders
said, "We will implement further efforts towards
universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010,
with particular focus on prevention and integration of services for HIV/TB.
also evidence of some decreases in commitment from the global leaders to
financing universal access to HIV and TB treatment. So the letter was written to Secretary
Clinton to bring these issues to attention," she says.
Akugizibwe says some people have been
turned away from health clinics because of funding shortages.
Uganda, this has been in the media. It's
been reported in The Lancet, which is a leading science journal," she says.
adds, "The responsibility isn't solely on the United States government, but
nationalgovernments themselves also have an obligation to finance access to
treatment and prevention."
TAC letter to Secretary Clinton ends by saying," We hope that you will do
everything in your power to protect the lives of women and children in South
Africa at risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS…by sustaining the assistance of
the United States government."
Last year, Congress authorized the
spending of up to $48 billion for PEPFAR over five years, with the goal of
treating at least three million people and preventing 12 million new
infections. The reauthorization came
before the global economic crisis.