South Africa, Global Fund Sign Grant Agreements Committing $41M Over Two Years To Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis
The South African government and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today signed agreements committing $41 million over two years for HIV/AIDS and TB treatment and prevention programs, according to a Global Fund release. The grants will help improve access to antiretroviral therapy for HIV-positive people and bolster voluntary testing and counseling programs in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the South African province hardest hit by the epidemic. More than one-third of the population in the province is estimated to be HIV-positive, and about 15% of the country's total TB cases live in the province, according to the release. Some funds will go to nationwide HIV prevention campaigns, including loveLife and Soul City. "Today's grant signing is a turning point in South Africa -- a signal of hope for those living with HIV and for all Africans working together to turn the tide against these deadly co-pandemics," Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said, adding, "In personally approving the proposal, [South African] President [Thabo] Mbeki has enabled new energy and partnership in the fight against AIDS in South Africa. Now we must work together to ensure the delivery of these services, including the antiretroviral treatment that is desperately needed by the South African people" (Global Fund release, 8/7). The South African government and the Global Fund in April twice failed to sign the agreement because of "technical details," including which government department would be responsible for the grant money (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/14). According to the release, the National Treasury will act as the principal national recipient for the Global Fund money, which will be used by both public and private partners. PriceWaterHouseCoopers will serve as the Local Fund Agent and will "review financial and programmatic statements on the progress of the grant" to trigger successive Global Fund disbursements, according to the release. South Africa has more HIV-positive people than any other country in the world, with one in 10 people estimated to be HIV-positive (Global Fund release, 8/7). The grant agreement is available online.This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.