U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Says More Funds May Not Be Answer to Country’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic
U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Cameron Hume speaking to students at Rhodes University on Tuesday criticized the South African government's "inability" to spend available resources on HIV/AIDS and questioned how the government would use the money it had allocated to fight the disease in 2004, the South African Press Association reports. Hume also referred to money that South Africa might receive from President Bush's proposed increase in funding to help combat AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, which he announced two weeks ago in his State of the Union address (South African Press Association, 2/11). Bush proposed a plan to spend $15 billion over five years, which includes $10 billion in new money, to address the epidemic. Under the initiative, new funds averaging an additional $2 billion per year would be phased in gradually to supplement the $1 billion per year the government now spends on AIDS; $1 billion total would go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/11). Hume said he "did not see how" South Africa would spend the money, the South African Press Association reports. He added, "Both national and provincial administrators have failed to spend all the money in their own budgets. Coming up with more resources does not necessarily mean they are going to do anything." Hume also said that considering the scale of the epidemic in South Africa, the efforts of the U.S. embassy would be like "throwing pixie dust in a war," but he added that the embassy would assist in whatever way it "strategically" could (South African Press Association, 2/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.