U.K. Development Aid Funding for Global HIV/AIDS Often Fails To Reach Target Populations, Committee Report Says
HIV/AIDS funding disbursed through the U.K. Department for International Development often does not reach the populations that need it the most, and the department's strategy to fight HIV/AIDS on a global scale "lack[s] clarity," according to a report released on Wednesday by the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, BBC News reports. The report, titled "Department for International Development: responding to HIV/AIDS," says that DFID spent more than $500 million on HIV/AIDS in 2002-2003 and has promised approximately $2.8 billion over the next three years, making the United Kingdom the second largest donor country of HIV/AIDS funding worldwide. However, much of the money given to global organizations is not being spent on fighting the disease, according to the report. In 2002-2003, only 4% of the department's budget allocated to multilateral bodies went to fight HIV/AIDS, the report says (BBC News, 4/5). The report says that DFID's overall response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic has been "slow" and concluded that the department's strategy for fighting the disease is "unclear" in many areas, including the balance between development and humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, London's Daily Mail reports.
"Many multilateral institutions supported by DFID spend little of their budgets addressing HIV/AIDS, and DFID should exert more pressure through its funding to influence priorities," Edward Leigh, committee chair and member of parliament for the opposition Conservative Party, said, adding, "DFID needs to give higher priority to tackling the wider social and economic impacts of the epidemic, including household poverty. It seems unfair that some countries with lower HIV prevalence rates attract priority status [for bilateral funding] over those with higher prevalence rates" (Daily Mail, 4/6). An unnamed DFID spokesperson said, "We welcome the report, which contains many useful recommendations, and we will make a full response in the next few weeks." Dr. Badara Samb of the World Health Organization's HIV Care Team said, "DFID recognizes that HIV requires a global response and partnership working, and they have played a part" (BBC News, 4/5).