Saturday, October 31, 2020

Gov’t steps up funding for HIV/AIDS as donors call it a day

The government of Botswana has taken a decision to increase and redirect funds towards HIV/ AIDS programmes as the southern African country is struggling to retain and attract donors due to its middle income status. Over the past few years, donor funding for HIV/AIDS programmes has drastically reduced as a result of Botswana’s upper middle income status.

According to the Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Shenaaz El-Halabi, government has decided to increase budgetary allocations in order to fill up the void left by donors. “We had to increase investment in the health sector to sustain it,” she said.

Amongst other things, she said government of Botswana now contributes 65% of the funding to the health sector. In 2016, two grants totalling US$27 million were signed between the Global Fund and Botswana with a focus on preventing, treating and caring for people affected by HIV and tuberculosis. The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many sources and partners including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, the European Union, Germany and France. According to the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), there are approximately 403 326 Batswana living with HIV/AIDS. With regards to the 90:90:90 UNAIDS goal, Botswana’s status was 83: 87: 96.

The 90:90:90 is an ambitious UNAIDS goal that; by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; by 2020, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and by 2020, 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

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