Kenyan HIV/AIDS Advocates Urge Global Fund To Continue Funding for HIV/AIDS Programs in 2005
Kenyan HIV/AIDS advocates on Wednesday urged the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to continue funding HIV/AIDS programs in 2005, the IPPMedia/Tanzanian Guardian reports (Mkinga, IPPMedia/Tanzanian Guardian, 11/11). Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem in October said that the fund faces a "critical year" in 2005 because of funding shortfalls and that it might not be able to award new grants. In order to carry out its work for 2005, the Global Fund needs at least $2.5 billion in funding, but it so far has secured only $1.6 billion from donors. Approximately $200 million in 2004 funding likely will carry over to 2005, but financial commitments for existing programs will consume $1.3 billion next year, leaving only $500 million available for new grants in 2005. However, because twice that amount of funding was available for grants during previous rounds, it is unclear whether a new round of funding will be approved when the organization's board meets in Tanzania from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/29). "As people from the grassroots, we need these drugs," Kassim Issa, a co-founder of the Kenya Organization of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said, adding, "We are not ready to give up. The Global Fund and its board members must not give up on us" (IPPMedia/Tanzanian Guardian, 11/11). Nick Maisha, an official with the group Movement of Men Against AIDS in Kenya, said, "We will be in Arusha when the fund meets next week to remind board members that their decisions have life and death consequences for people directly outside their doors."
Siama Musine, a member of the Kenya Organization of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said, "It will be impossible for the Global Fund to assist in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals if it is bankrupt and forced to close its doors due to donor countries not living up to their promises" (Agence France-Presse, 11/10). In 2003, the Group of Eight industrialized countries -- which is comprised of the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Italy and Russia -- proposed that financial commitments to the Global Fund total $3 billion annually. French President Jacques Chirac recommended that the United States donate $1 billion, European countries donate $1 billion and other countries donate an additional $1 billion in total pledges (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/29). However, donations have fallen short "amid tensions" between the United States and other governments over the best way to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic, according to IPPMedia/Guardian (IPPMedia/Tanzanian Guardian, 11/11).