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Date: 2024-02-24 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00001913

Health, Society and Economy
AIDS in Africa

Will US AIDS cash make a difference? A question posed in 2003.

COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess

AFRO-NETS> Will US AIDS cash make a difference? (2)
6/3/2003 5:45:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Profitinafrica@aol.com
afro-nets@healthnet.org

Will US AIDS cash make a difference? (2)
----------------------------------------
Dear Colleagues

Will US AIDS cash make a difference? Absolutely yes. It is difficult to have US$ 15 billion and not make a difference.

The world now knows that President Bush has followed up on his State of the Union statement early in the year about HIV-AIDS.

But that is not the same, of course, as the challenge of actually getting the funds mobilized so as to make a difference in the progression of the health and HIV-AIDS crisis around the world.

We are still faced with the problem of taking the recently passed US legislation and converting it into disbursement. I hope we will see an ongoing accounting of how much of this famous US$ 15 billion actually gets disbursed, whether it is in the NORTH or the SOUTH. There is work to be done around the appropriations systems of the US government which are different from the talk about new legislation that has been going on recently.

We are still faced with the ongoing problem of making best use of available funds. I have not yet seen any compelling evidence, let alone accounting, that suggests that we are making best use of available funds. In fact, I am more of the view that we are not even making good use of a lot of the funds that are available. Far too large a proportion of the funds cycle around the NORTH and never get to do very much on the ground in the SOUTH. I still do not see any meaningful numerical analysis of this problem, but it is obvious that it is huge.

And we are still faced with some unfortunate linkages between this 'new' funding and some of the funding that is existing. The 'rules' about use of this new money may well have a negative impact on the old funding...... so there will be some program disruption. How much remains to be seen.

I am pleased that there is some substantial money now that has passed Congress. Now the challenge is to get it mobilized..... and then put into worthwhile activities.... and I would like to see some half decent accounting and accountability so that there is a fighting chance of seeing how valuable this funding really has been...... or maybe even, how badly the funds get used.

I will also add that because the money is being discussed in the billions, that a lot of 'lobbying' and support for the programs is going to come from powerful quarters in both the SOUTH and the NORTH. Getting access to use this money is going to be a priority....... while using this money to have the maximum impact on the progression of health and HIV-AIDS crisis may well become a secondary issue

Sincerely

Peter Burgess



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