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Black Star News Examines Global Economic Recession’s Impact on HIV/AIDS Spending in Africa

Black Star News examines how the “raging global financial crisis is now forcing most African countries” to cut their budgets, including spending on health programs.

In Southern Africa – Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe – have been some of the countries hardest hit by the economic downturn, which is “severely affecting revenue flows for the governments and expenditures on HIV/AIDS programs,” Black Star News writes. Long-term health planning could become unpredictable with reduced funding for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa, according to health experts.

In addition, Black Star News reports that major international donor organizations – such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – are also being affected. The Global Fund recently announced a funding shortfall of $4 billion for services in 2010 and said that there is a $10.7 billion funding gap for the regional implementation of the Global Plan to Stop TB.

As a result health advocates are working together to mitigate the impact of the global recession and press for HIV/AIDS funding. Nonkosi Khumalo, a women’s health program coordinator at the South Africa Treatment Action Campaign, said, “Broken promises and skewed priorities of governments and donors have reduced the right to health and access to treatment to unattainable rhetoric.” Khumalo said that in the last few months, “trillions of dollars” have been spent on financial bailouts to stimulate economic recovery, but a “tiny portion” of that sum “could have bought quality, sustainable healthcare for millions of people” (Tsiko, Black Star News, 5/28).