Save the Children warns cutting funding for HIV and AIDS work is a false economy
A major shortfall in pledged resources to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria could leave up to 1.4 million orphans and vulnerable children without support and hamstring successful prevention and treatment activities for those most at risk, said the global children's charity.
For the first time in its 10-year history, the Global Fund has been forced to cancel Round 11 of its application process because of insufficient support from donor countries. As the Fund accounts for one fifth of external assistance for people affected by HIV and AIDS, and two-thirds of funding for TB and malaria, the impact of donors' delays or cancellations is enormous.
"In the current economic climate, governments obviously have to think very carefully about how they spend taxpayers' money", said Patrick Watt, Global Campaign Director for Save the Children, "But just as the world is making huge strides in the fight against HIV and AIDS, the goal of creating an AIDS-free generation, where no children are born with HIV will not be possible unless the Global Fund is able to continue scaling up its work."
Loss of funding will mean less support for critical HIV and AIDS programs, and cuts in new maternal and newborn health activities linked to these. Plans to extend care and support to an additional 1.4 million orphans and vulnerable children in the developing world, improvements in prevention of HIV for young people most at risk and strengthened services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV will now most likely be shelved.
"The Canadian government is one Global Fund donor that has led governments not only by increasing support but also by committing their funding early," said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. "Given the current situation we urge the Canadian government to make its full annual payment by December 31, 2011 as planned".
Erb continued, "we also call on Prime Minister Harper to urge other funders to come back to the table. There is not only a moral imperative but also a strong economic case for the continued funding of the Global Fund. Investing in tackling HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria pays many times over. Donors need to think again as, in the end, hampering the Global Fund's work is a false economy."