Reuters Examines Challenges of Directing International AIDS Funding to Community-Level Efforts in Africa
Reuters on Sunday examined how, although international aid for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa has increased, money is not reaching community-level efforts. According to aid agency officials, the increase in HIV/AIDS spending "has created bottlenecks, with fragile health care systems, disorganized government departments and fledgling community groups often ill-prepared to absorb the money flowing in," Reuters reports. Global HIV/AIDS funding has increased from $250 million in 1995 to more than $8 billion in 2005, and governments and United Nations agencies now are facing the challenge of developing new ways to spend it, according to Reuters. Fatma Mwassa -- information chief of Tanzania's HIV/AIDS control organization, TACAIDS -- said that Tanzania is having difficulties spending its HIV/AIDS money because of donor requirements, which often limit how organizations can spend their funds. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, said, "We all need to begin thinking out of the box," adding that, "stopping the AIDS epidemic is going to require more than just a medical approach." Piot also said that structuring funding so that it can provide basic needs, such as bicycles for village health workers, is a concern. Increased HIV/AIDS funding has had an impact on Africa primarily by increasing access to no-cost antiretroviral drugs. However, officials say only about 10% of people on the continent who need drugs have access to them, and services such as support for children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related causes are neglected (Quinn, Reuters, 2/26).
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