News / Africa

NGO Warns of Effects of AIDS Funding Shortfall

Road sign in Zambia urging AIDS awareness.
Road sign in Zambia urging AIDS awareness.
Joe DeCapua

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. The fund says it has saved more than 7 and a half million lives by supporting prevention and treatment programs. However, in November, it announced it had cancelled its next funding round and that no new grants would be approved until 2014. An NGO is warning of the consequences if donors don’t step forward.

The global fund began collecting donations from governments and private foundations in January 2002. Since then, it has approved over $22 billion dollars for hundreds of programs in more than 150 countries.

About 50 countries have contributed. The United States has been the biggest donor, providing 33-percent of the funds pledged each year. In 2010, it pledged more than one billion dollars.

However, when the fund’s board met in Accra, Ghana, in November, officials decided to cancel the next funding round, round 11. Along with the global economic crisis came a sharp drop in donations. Officials now say most of the more than $8 billion in donations expected to arrive by the end of 2013 will be needed to renew existing grants. That leaves no money for round 11.

Don’t stop

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance has released a new report on the global fund called Don’t Stop Now. Alvaro Bermejo is executive director of the NGO.

“We are at a point where science and the tools that we have allow us to think of a world with no AIDS and to plan it within a generation. But at that particular time, donors are faltering on their commitment. The global fund might go without enough funding and this vision will not materialize. So we’re calling on the donors not to stop now when we’re at such a crucial point in the battle against HIV,” he said.

Bermejo praised the fund’s efforts over the last 10 years.

“The global fund has been key to the response to HIV, as well as for TB and malaria. The great progress that’s been achieved in these three diseases just wouldn’t have been possible without it,” he said.

The economic crisis has forced many AIDS-related organizations to rethink funding priorities and to become much more efficient.

Bermejo said, “I think it’s true that we have to be as efficient as one can be and there are certainly opportunities to be more efficient still. And I think everybody is trying their best. But not funding the global fund now is a major inefficiency because you don’t only lose the momentum you have, you actually slide backwards and many of the gains that we’ve made will be wasted.”

Filling the gap

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance estimates the shortfall to be about $2 billion.

“The gap that we have now is mainly produced because donors that pledged to give money to the global fund when it had its replenishment conference in New York in 2010 – those pledges that were made have not been fully met. So donors haven’t lived up to the promises they made,” said Bermejo.

The alliance report examines the potential effects of the funding shortfall in 5 countries.

“In Zambia, for example, an estimated 130,000 people that need lifesaving access to antiretroviral therapy today will not be able to access it. In South Sudan, the newest country in the world, which has a very good HIV/AIDS prevention strategy that has been costed, 80 percent remains unfunded,” he said.

Similar conditions are reported in Zimbabwe, Bolivia and Bangladesh.

The alliance makes three recommendations. First, it calls on donors to honor existing pledges to the global fund. Next, it says national governments must increase their own investment in HIV programs. And finally, it recommends bilateral donors fill critical service gaps not covered by existing programs. Bilateral donors are U.N. member states that provide aid directly to other countries.

The head of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance said he’s still hopeful a new round of funding will be held this year, possibly even before the 19th International AIDS Conference is held in Washington, DC in July. The conference is the world’s largest AIDS related gathering.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid