South Africa’s Health Department Works To Stop Potential Cuts To U.S. Funding Through PEPFAR

Business Day: Health department scrambles to stop U.S. cut in HIV funds
“Top health department officials are set to travel to Washington later in April to try persuading the U.S. not to slash its support for SA’s HIV/AIDS programs. … In a surprise move barely six weeks after announcing that SA was to get an extra $1.2bn to support its HIV/AIDS programs over the next two years, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah Birx said PEPFAR’s programs are performing so poorly in SA that funding should be cut from the start of the next U.S. financial year, which begins on October 1. In a strongly worded letter sent to the U.S. chief of mission to SA, Jessye Lapenn, on January 16, she described progress in PEPFAR’s core treatment program in SA as ‘grossly sub-optimal and insufficient to reach epidemic control.’ … U.S. health attaché to SA, Steve Smith, said SA is one of seven countries that received letters from Birx raising concerns about their PEPFAR-supported programs. … Smith said the funding figures in Birx’s letter to SA are preliminary and there is scope for an increase if SA can demonstrate that it is taking effective remedial action…” (Kahn, 4/10).