“Swaziland’s government has failed to pay more than $10 million … in grants to AIDS orphans because of its financial crisis, an IMF official has said” in a statement after visiting the country, BBC News reports. The IMF official, Joannes Mongardini, “told the BBC that the government had ‘owed’ $10 million in grants to orphans and $4 million to elderly people since September,” the news service writes. Swaziland, which “has the world’s highest HIV/AIDS rate, leaving some 69,000 orphans,” “has not yet accepted a $355 million bailout from neighboring South Africa after Pretoria set a series of conditions — including political and economic reforms,” according to the BBC.
Programs, Funding & Financing
Two recently released reports “show that AIDS-related funding from United States and European philanthropic donors totaled US$612 million in 2010, a combined seven percent decrease (US$44 million) from 2009,” according to a joint press release from Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA), the European HIV/AIDS Funders Group (EFG), and UNAIDS. The reports, “U.S.…
PlusNews examines Swaziland’s national shortages of antiretroviral (ARV) stocks, HIV tests, and lab tests necessary to initiate and manage HIV patients on treatment, and the country’s efforts to find funding to prevent stock-outs of these supplies. “Despite several bail-outs this year by international donors, neighboring countries and international NGOs, Swaziland remains in the grips of a months-long shortage of lab reagents needed for CD4 count testing, which measures the immune system’s strength and is needed to start patients on ARVs, as well as toxicity testing important in monitoring patients’ responses to treatment,” the news service writes, noting that funding received in April from PEPFAR will help supply first-line ARVs through April 2012 (11/15). According to BBC News, about 65,000 of the country’s 230,000 people living with HIV relies on state hospitals for ARVs (Simelane, 11/15).
As international donors “remain reluctant to release aid meant for the health sector” in Malawi “amid allegations of pilfering and corruption in the procurement of drugs,” “patients seeking medical treatment at government-run medical facilities are unable to access medication such as antiretrovirals (ARVs), anti-malarial drugs and even painkillers,” Inter Press Service reports, adding, “Health facilities are also experiencing a shortage of medical equipment such as gloves, and malaria and HIV/AIDS testing kits.”
A new policy brief from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) “summarizes data on HIV vaccine R&D funding trends originally published by the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group in 2011,” according to the IAVI website. “The crucial addition of a preventive HIV vaccine to [a comprehensive biomedical HIV prevention]…
In anticipation of the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, a campaign which starts on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, Daniela Ligiero, senior adviser for gender at the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, reports on PEPFAR’s commitment to address gender-based…
Clinton’s Speech Prioritizing Creation Of ‘AIDS-Free Generation’ May Shape Future Of U.S. Global Health Strategy, Analysts Say
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s November 8 speech at the NIH, in which she called for the creation of an “AIDS-free generation” through the use of combination prevention strategies, “could be more than just political lip-service: it may also shape the next several years of U.S. global health programming and funding, analysts say,” PlusNews reports. “‘It’s the first time the U.S. has outlined a policy goal on how to reach an AIDS-free generation,’ explained Jennifer Kates,” vice president and director of Global Health & HIV Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the news service writes. “Natasha Bilimoria, president of the Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, … says she hopes Clinton’s ‘incredibly strong message’ will be backed by strong funding commitments for the next financial year,” the news service writes (11/14).
Push For Experimental Smallpox Drug Contract By Obama Administration Raises Questions, L.A. Times Reports
“Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433 million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor,” including “replac[ed] the government’s lead negotiator for the deal” and “blocked other firms from competing,” the newspaper adds.
Leia Isanhart Balima of Catholic Relief Services writes in this ONE blog post about the successes of the AIDSRelief program in Rwanda, and how that country’s Ministry of Health has taken ownership over operations. The program is funded by PEPFAR, and Catholic Relief Services is the lead agency for AIDSRelief in…
In this Washington Post opinion piece, columnist Michael Gerson recaps advances in the science of HIV/AIDS prevention over the last 18 months and the projected benefits of using combination preventive tools. He writes, “After 30 years and 30 million funerals, the end of the global AIDS epidemic is suddenly, unexpectedly, within sight. It would be a final victory for this clever killer if America were too preoccupied and inward-looking to notice and act.”