General News of Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Some health experts have called on Ghana and other African countries to prioritise the domestic mobilisation of resources to help tackle issues of HIV/AIDS, instead of relying on donor support.
They said the increasing decline in donor funds to Third World countries in general, meant that African countries must buck up by being more innovative in generating sustainable revenue for HIV/AIDS financing.
The experts said that objective could be realised through targeted government policies on health financing, private sector support and strong advocacy by civil society organisations (CSOs) to get the government to commit more resources into the sector.
They made the call at a two-day consultative meeting on the validation of a draft score card report on HIV financing in Africa in Accra yesterday.
The score card is an initiative of Accountability International, a global accountability organisation, and the Society for Aids in Africa (SAA).
It is used to assess the performance of countries in tackling HIV/AIDS and other health issues.
The draft report, which is dubbed: “Mind the gap: African HIV financing score card”, explored existing frameworks for HIV management, innovative financing of the menace, public-private partnerships, impact investments and corporate social responsibility of organisations in the disease.
Decline in funding
In March this year, the President of the United States, Mr Donald Trump, announced a $1.4-billion cut in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has been the major source of funding for the treatment of about 14 million people in 50 countries.
Also, there has been a general decline in donor support for HIV treatment over the past decade.
For instance, the UN estimates that donor assistance in 2016 was $1.4 billion, which represents a decrease of 11 per cent from the figure for 2015.
In 2016, funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and research also fell by $35 million, representing a three per cent decline over the previous year’s figure.
The Africa Regional Director of UNAIDS, Mr Patrick Brenny, therefore, said the time had come for African countries to come up with innovative ways of mobilising funds.
He urged CSOs to strengthen their advocacy functions to compel African governments to commit more funds to HIV prevention.
“Sustainable funding for HIV treatment is critical and governments in Africa need to demonstrate a commitment to use policy and resource allocation to address it. Parliament represents the people in terms of law making and so it must be engaged on HIV financing,” he said.
The Director of Research, Development and Resourcing at Accountability International, Ms Phillipa Tucker, also called for closer collaboration among policy makers, health institutions and CSOs in the generation of funds.
She asked them to always share relevant information on HIV/AIDS to help tackle the disease.