News / Africa

Experts Fear Economic Downturn Is Impacting HIV/AIDS Programs

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria logo
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria logo
Vidushi Sinha

UN agencies report that a decline in donor support, due to the current economic downturn, may compromise crucial programs for HIV/AIDS. The report was released before a meeting this week of major donors to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Experts argue that unless more funds are committed, progress on HIV/AIDS will stall or even reverse.

Rozina Chimbalani's daughter died of AIDS, leaving behind two children.

Chimbalani now takes care of her grandchildren with money she gets from a government program in Malawi. The program provides funds to families lilke Chimbalani's to meet the needs of children and buy their school supplies. "This project has changed my life. If I didn't get a cash transfer I would be miserable and might even have died by now, and the kids would be on their own," she said.



Malawi, like many African countries, has been hit hard by HIV/AIDS. In Africa, orphaned children, in the millions, struggle to survive. Many families are dependent on welfare.

UN agencies report that a decline in donor support, due to the current economic downturn, may compromise crucial programs for HIV/AIDS. The report was released before a meeting this week of major donors to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Experts argue that unless more funds are committed, progress on HIV/AIDS will stall or even reverse.

UN experts praise recent progress in providing support and antiretroviral treatment for people with HIIV/AIDs.  But in their latest report, they argue that programs like Malawi's will be difficult to sustain if contributions from donor countries decrease over the long term. "The current economic context obviously doesn't make it easy, but decreased commitment is not an option as it will eliminate all advances made over the last years," said Dr. Gottfried Himschall, the HIV/ADS director at the World Health Organization.

The report says more lives are being saved than ever before - and eight developing countries are now able to provide HIV/AIDS treatment to all who need it. But for the first time in the history of these programs funding has actually dipped.

AIDS activist Asia Russel says now is not the time to deny help to HIV/AIDs patients. "This faltering response from donors is happening at precisely the moment that we know more about how effectively to respond to HIV in resource poor settings," Russel said.

Activists warn that gains made over the last eight years, including a 17 percent reduction in HIV infection, could be reversed, in part, as a result of funding cuts for the US PEPFAR program.  

"PEPFAR funding, instead of the steady increase that had been committed to, [has] been virtually flat funded. The President has actually requested a $50 million cut to the global fund which has been a very effective multilateral mechanism..."

Donor countries are announcing their pledges for the Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria at their meeting in New York. The United States is the largest donor and has contributed more than $5.1 billion so far.

Experts say the Global Fund needs at least $20 billion to sustain current programs.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs