Lack of Resources, Personnel — Not Money — Can Hinder Startup of African Countries’ Treatment Programs
Some HIV/AIDS experts say that Botswana's national treatment program "serves as a cautionary tale about expectations" of spending new financial aid in Africa in light of resource and personnel shortfalls, the Boston Globe reports. Although the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the pharmaceutical company Merck launched the five-year program in 2000 with $100 million, it had spent only $33.5 million by the end of 2004, about 37% of the $90 million earmarked for services, according to the Globe. Officials working with the program now believe it could take eight to nine years to spend the $100 million. Jeff Ramsey, a spokesperson for Botswana President Festus Mogae, said, "If people think they can throw $100 million at a problem and expect everything to work perfectly and quickly, well, it won't happen with AIDS." He added, "There are all kinds of organizational bottlenecks, training people and retraining them. ... It takes time. People can learn from our mistakes and our successes." In the past year, Botswana's program has grown substantially, and some experts say the program is one of the most extensive HIV/AIDS treatment programs on the continent. Other programs funded by the World Bank and the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have spent smaller percentages of their money than Botswana's program has spent, according to the Globe (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 6/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.