Protesters Ask U.S. To Boost Funding For Global Fund, HIV/AIDS Programs In Africa

Thousands of protesters in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday “demand[ed] the U.S. increase its AIDS funding for Africa,” the Associated Press reports (Naki, 6/17). The protesters delivered a letter to the consulate saying the U.S. is “cutting funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” which health advocates believe could lead “other countries to follow suit and reduce funding for the fight against HIV,” Agence France-Presse writes (6/17). The protests were organized by the Treatment Action Campaign and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) together with a range of civil society organizations, the Mail & Guardian reports. 

The U.S. embassy in South Africa “issued a media release on Thursday, stating that the U.S. government is keeping its promise to strengthen HIV/AIDS programmes in Africa, and that President Barack Obama has actually requested increases for … PEPFAR … in his 2010 and 2011 budgets,” according to the newspaper (Harbour/Gossman, 6/17). The press release also notes that “the U.S. is the largest donor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a key multilateral vehicle for countries and the private sector to contribute to the fight” (6/17).

The AP reports that the protestors said PEPFAR funding increases were not enough, which “has led clinics to run out of drugs and forced providers to ration treatment.” They also “called on the European Union, China, Japan and Canada to increase their AIDS funding and for African nations to meet a previous commitment to increase health spending to 15 percent annually” (6/17).

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