Speakers at Second HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting in Uganda Call for Increased Accountability of Funding
Donor organizations on Wednesday at the 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting in Kampala, Uganda, called for increased accountability for funds provided to governments to fight the spread of the disease, Xinhua/China View reports. Officials from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief at the conference said that governments receiving funds should include all stakeholders in determining how the funds are allocated and for what use.
Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine said the organization now has rigorous procedures that countries have to go through before funds are allocated to them. He added that countries are required to submit financial reports, which have to be confirmed by an independent auditing firm before the funds are released. Michel Sidibe of UNAIDS said that countries can achieve more successes in the fight against the disease when monitoring and evaluation structures are in place. He added, "We need really to foster public debates so that different players can be part of what is happening in societies and how resources which are made available can be for people who are in need" (Xinhua/China View, 6/4).
UNAIDS and the Global Fund on Tuesday also signed a memorandum of understanding renewing their commitment to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, the New Vision/AllAfrica.com reports. The memorandum aims to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. It also aims to improve the effectiveness of aid by funding national HIV/AIDS plans, consolidating grants and defining monitoring indicators that are shared with major partners. "Partnerships are an essential component in the fight against AIDS because the Global Fund is not a single funding entity," Kazatchkine said (Bugembe, New Vision/AllAfrica.com, 6/5).
Some HIV/AIDS advocates speaking at the conference also said policymakers should redirect funding to strategies that have been proven effective and should increasingly focus on vulnerable groups -- including commercial sex workers, children, prisoners and men who have sex with men -- the New Vision/AllAfrica.com reports. They cited condom use, male circumcision and a reduction in the number of sexual partners as effective strategies. They added that people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS also need to be included in the policymaking process. According to some advocates, MSM are persecuted and denied treatment access in many countries, including Egypt, Rwanda and Uganda (Among, New Vision/AllAfrica.com, 6/5).
MSM Advocates Arrested at Conference
In related news, Ugandan police arrested three MSM advocates at the conference. The advocates were distributing placards and soliciting for funding, the New Vision/AllAfrica.com reports.
According to police spokesperson Simeo Nsubuga, the advocates distributed placards calling on participants to consider MSM in Uganda when planning HIV prevention efforts. The cards read, "Gay Ugandans also need HIV prevention," and "Since 1983 up to 2008, zero shillings to HIV prevention for gay Ugandans." Nsubuga said, "We are looking at a case of criminal trespass against them." He added, "They are not delegates and were not invited. They did not have accreditation cards" (Baguma/Ogwang, New Vision/AllAfrica.com, 6/5).
According to Nsubuga, 13 demonstrators --all members of the Sexual Minorities Uganda group -- have been arrested on charges of promoting homosexuality and "unnatural conduct." Nsubuga said, "We have detained them for promoting homosexuality," which is illegal in Uganda. He added, "Depending on the investigation and evidence available, these people may be imprisoned for life" (Agence France-Presse, 6/4).
Archived webcasts from the meeting will be available online at kaisernetwork.org.