African leaders tasked on declining HIV/AIDS funds

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- African leaders should make a declaration calling for i ncreased funding for HIV/AIDS fight in Africa, following the decline of global funds to fight the disease, heads of UN organizations task ed with the global war against the disease said here Monday.
''We expect at least a two-paragraph declaration calling for the replenishment o f funds for the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis,'' said Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fu nd.
Speaking on the sidelines of an African Union heads of state summit in Kampala, to discuss the prevention of the deaths of mothers and their children at birth, the Global Fund chief and the Head of the Joint UN Programme for HIV/A IDS, Michel Sidibe, expressed fears over the funding cuts.
''It is the first time we are experiencing the decline in HIV/AIDS.
The gap is h uge, from US$26 billion to US$16 billion mobilized this year.
We need an extra US$10 billion every year to finance the care,'' Sidibe told jou rnalists.
The two officials warned that failure to tackle the declining funding for the HI V/AIDS financing could lead to disastrous consequences, especially for African countries which have made progress in the fight.
''It could be changed.
We are moving from the financial crisis into the post-aus terity.
The European Union are facing budget issues, but if the donors fix the issues, they will come back,'' Sidibe said.
Jeffrey Sachs, a respected sustainable development expert and a senior Adviser t o the UN chief on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), singled out the US for lacking the drive and enthusiasm to fight HIV.
''It strikes me as hard to understand that they cannot increase their funding to HIV/AIDS through the Global Fund when bankers walk away with US$30 billion bonuses untaxed,'' he said.
''It is even harder when they spend US$100 billion to fund the war in Afghanista n, when they say they find no money for HIV/AIDS funding,'' Sachs added.
The UNAIDS chief said with the decline in the funding of HIV/AIDS, Africa was at risk of an increment in the number of HIV/AIDS infections.

26 july 2010 10:40:00




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