The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria is in financial crisis, HIV groups warned on Monday.
They said this was expected to have a severe impact on Southern African HIV programmes for treatment and prevention.
The groups, which include South Africa’s Budget Expenditure Monitoring Forum, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Doctors without Borders, met in Braamfontein to highlight the problem.
Doctors without Borders described the announcement by the board of the Global Fund as “shocking”.
The fund’s money woes left it with no choice but to cancel its round 11 of new grants allocated to various programmes in a number of countries.
Donors scaling down
This held the risk of running back the clock on the gains made in the fight against HIV.
The board had said the financial problems were mostly because of donors scaling down on commitments and not releasing money promised to the fund.
A panel comprising representatives from South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe shared their countries’ plight in the light of the round 11 grants cancellation.
“It is going to be a disaster if the programmes are not supported,” said Safari Mbewe of Malawi.
Carrying the burden
Sikhulu Matsengwa of Swaziland said the people were worried about the effects if they should run out of antiretrovirals.
The TAC’s Nokhwezi Hoboyi called on the government to take leadership in urging international donors not to pull out of the Global Fund.
She said the country stood to carry the burden of a number of neighbouring country’s citizens who would flock to local public hospitals for treatment.
Hoboyi said the TAC had been hosting demonstrations outside the embassies of various countries in South Africa to urge them to keep their commitments to the Global Fund. — Sapa