U.S., Worldwide Donors Give Only $2B to Global AIDS Fund Despite ‘Major Overhaul’ of Foreign Aid Delivery System
Although a "major overhaul" has been made in the structure of the foreign aid delivery system, wealthy nations have not donated enough money to effectively fight global AIDS, the Washington Times reports in a profile of funding for international AIDS programs. Officials have developed "[n]ew, transparent and effective ways" to deliver foreign aid to developing nations, the Times reports. Some of these methods include "'leapfrogging' ineffective governments" and barring funding to "ineffective or corrupt" health ministries and instead allocating aid directly to nongovernmental organizations, businesses or private groups. However, health officials say that despite these reforms, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has remained "badly underfunded," so far amassing only $2 billion in donations. Health officials estimate that the fund will require $10 billion annually to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide, but UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month that the fund is "far from" reaching this goal. "We need to see a roughly 50% increase in funding each year, in each of the next four years," Piot said. The United States has already pledged $300 million for the fund through fiscal year 2002, and President Bush has requested an additional $200 million for FY 2003. USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios told the Senate recently that the U.S. budget for HIV/AIDS care and prevention was $433 million in 2001 and $535 million in 2002. Bush has requested $640 million for such programs in 2003 (Barber, Washington Times, 3/4).
Natsios Defends U.S. AIDS Spending
In an interview with the Washington Times, Natsios defended the United States' level of AIDS spending. He noted that since 1999, USAID has boosted spending on AIDS programs in developing nations by 500%, and AIDS spending has doubled every year for the past three years for programs targeting Caribbean nations. "The United States [contribution], although smaller than the amount the United Nations sought, has the largest bilateral HIV/AIDS fund in the world. ... We are contributing a lot, including technical people in the field," Natsios said. He stated that the United States should not dispense all of its foreign aid for AIDS programs through the Global Fund because the fund could "fail," and officials must determine the fund's effectiveness as it progresses (Barber, Washington Times, 3/4).