Funding cuts threaten Aids care

2009-11-05 14:05

THE GAINS made in the treatment of HIV/Aids could be under threat

if the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria votes to suspend all

funding proposals for 2010 at its meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, next week.

“After almost a decade of progress in rolling out Aids treatment we

have seen substantial improvements both for patients and public health. But

recent funding cuts mean doctors and nurses are being forced to turn HIV

patients away from clinics as if we were back in the 90s, before treatment was

available,” said Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, director of Medecins Sans

Frontieres’ (MFS) Access to Essential Medicines Campaign.

Today MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, released a report

in Johannesburg on the gains made in the fight against HIV/Aids and the likely

impact of cutting funding for the disease by the Global Fund and the United

States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids relief (PEPFAR).

Both the Global Fund and PEPFAR are significant funders for

HIV/Aids programmes in developing countries. Donor countries that the Global

Fund relies on have reduced their funding while the PEPFAR has indicated that

due to budget cuts it will not increase it’s funding.

“South Africa, which is able to spend more on health than most

African countries, will still require additional funding if the plan to provide

lifelong antiretroviral therapy to every person in need is going to be

realised,” said Dr. Eric Goemaere, medical coordinator of MSF in South Africa

and Lesotho.

According to Goemaere, South Africa has 40% of people on

antiretrovirals and if external funding is cut that would defeat the country’

goal of increasing access for 80% of people who are HIV-positive. The countries

that will be adversely affected include Botswana, Swaziland and Malawi.

According to the report these countries have managed to reduce deaths related to

HIV/Aids through funding from the Global Fund.

The MSF urged the Global Fund, PEPFAR, national governments and the

international community to increase funding for HIV/Aids and continue with their

commitment to universal access to Aids care and treatment.

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