Over 350 000 might fail to access ARVs
Monday, 14 May 2012 00:00
Farirai Machivenyika recently in KADOMA
More than 350 000 people living with HIV and Aids might fail to access anti-retroviral drugs as Zimbabwe could face a US$227 million deficit by 2018, it has been revealed.
In an interview at the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against HIV workshop in Kadoma at the weekend, National Aids Council director for finance Mr Albert Manenji said Zimbabwe should come up with alternative funding to deal with the anticipated deficit caused by the unavailabilty of donors.
“The financial gap for HIV is actually quite huge. This gap is progressing and is expected to get wider. As of 2012, the gap will be US$10 million and by 2018 it will be US$227 million and about 358 000 people who will need treatment will not be able to afford it.
“The gap would be compounded by the withdrawal of Global Fund that has been funding 35 percent of our people on ARVs; they have not committed themselves beyond 2014,” he said.
The Global Fund has been supporting HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria programmes in the past 10 years,
but will suspend support in 2014 owing to financial constraints donor countries are facing as a result of the global recession.
At least 300 000 people are on ARV treatment on the Government programme in Zimbabwe out of over 600 000 that are in need of the drugs.
Currently 35 percent of people receiving ARVs are funded by the Global Fund, 18 percent by USAid, 24 percent by the National Aids Trust Fund (collected from the Aids levy) and 22 percent from the Expanded Support Programme.
The ESP is supported by various donors.
Mr Manenji said it was important to come up with internal solutions to deal with the impending shortfall in funding.
“We have to come up with a number of strategies to deal with the issue and one of them is to efficiently and effectively use the funds that we have,” he said.
Zimbabwe has managed to slow down the spread of the virus using local resources.
“Although we have received less from outside, we have done much better than those receiving and it has been proved that you can do better with internal resources,” he said.
Mr Manenji said people on medical aid could assist by increasing their monthly contributions by at least US$4 to access ARV treatment.
This would allow vulnerable groups to be accommodated on Government-supported initiatives.