$108m for HIV prevention projects

27 November 2009

South Africa has secured an additional US$108-million (about R818-million) from the Global Fund to finance its HIV prevention projects over the next five years, which Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says has come at the right time, given the current financial environment.

“This is very important for us as we try to mobilise additional resources for our response to the epidemic,” said Motlanthe, who is also chairperson of the South African National Aids Council.

Motlanthe was addressing a plenary session of the council in Pretoria this week.

National strategic plan review

The funding was made available after South Africa’s application to the Global Fund under a submission entitled “Leveraging partnerships to achieve the objectives of the national strategic plan”.

Delegates attending the session were also briefed on the preliminary findings of the midterm review of the plan – the country’s blueprint to combating HIV/Aids.

“This review took place alongside a United Nations led review of the health sector’s HIV programme as well as an analysis of our state of readiness to conduct mass counselling and testing,” Motlanthe said.

He said the review focused on progress towards achieving the key objectives of the plan as well as the institutional arrangements at national, provincial and local levels to implement the plan

“We acknowledge that the review team had a short timeframe to conduct the review and that a bit more work needs to be done to finalise the report,” he said.

Challenges, HIV/Aids treatment

The report found that while levels of knowledge about HIV are high, behaviour change remained a challenge. “Condom use has increased but we need to increase the consistent use of condoms significantly,” Motlanthe said.

Regarding treatment, he said more than 700 000 patients were receiving treatment, but that the figure represented only 50% of those who need to be treated.

The review found that the health system needs to be strengthened to ensure increased access to care and for services to be integrated with within the public health sector and between the public and private health sectors.

“We really need to ensure that we mobilise and align all our resources to meet our targets. There are also challenges with regard to information about the epidemic. We collect lots of data but do not use the information intelligently to monitor progress,” Motlanthe said.

Source: BuaNews