Funding Shortage Hindering HIV/AIDS Programs in Burundi, IRIN/PlusNews Reports
HIV/AIDS programs in Burundi are unable to expand their services because of a shortage of government funding, IRIN/PlusNews reports. The National AIDS Control Council of Burundi said that in 2008, the government experienced an $11 million shortfall in the $28 million budget needed to address HIV/AIDS in the country. In addition, there was an $83 million shortage in funding needed to fulfill the national AIDS strategic plan from 2007 to 2011.
According to Jean Rirangira, interim executive secretary of NACC, the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria's Technical Review Panel has recommended that the government's request for a five-year, $150 million grant to fight HIV/AIDS be approved. The current application for funding from the Global Fund was designed to include aims of the 2007-2011 strategic plan. The government plans to strengthen HIV-prevention activities, prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programs and other aspects of the strategic plan if the Global Fund application is approved, Rirangira said.
The government has had to postpone plans to expand programs aimed at preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission because of a lack of funding, Rirangira said, noting that Burundi's PMTCT programs are "very underdeveloped." Less than 20% of the 500 health centers in Burundi offering prenatal services offer PMTCT services. Between 15,000 and 18,000 HIV-positive women give birth annually in the country but only about 1,000 of them receive PMTCT services, Rirangira said. In addition, AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children also "have suffered" during the funding shortfall, Rirangira said.
Nongovernmental organizations -- including the Association Nationale de soutien aux Seropositifs et Sideens, or ANSS -- have limited expansion efforts because of the shortfall. Jeanne Gapiya -- founder of ANSS, which provides antiretroviral treatment to more than 2,600 people -- said that the group cannot offer access to antiretroviral drugs to new patients. According to Gapiya, increased funding would enable ANSS to train and hire more doctors to "maintain the quality of service" the group provides.
Nicolas Demey, a media liaison for the Global Fund, said that the proposal will need to be endorsed by the Global Fund board before it is considered successful but added that Burundi should consider internal funding sources so HIV programs are less affected by external factors. According to IRIN/PlusNews, Burundi's HIV prevalence has increased from 3.5% in 2002 to 4.2% in 2008 (IRIN/PlusNews, 10/24).