Groups Urge British Parliament To Increase Funding for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Contribution to Global Fund
The British groups Action for Southern Africa, National Union of Students and UNISON on Tuesday were scheduled to lobby Parliament to increase spending to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa, BBC News reports. The groups during a public meeting in the House of Commons planned to call on members of Parliament to increase funding in the country's spending priorities for 2005 through 2008; the spending plan is set to be released in July (BBC News, 4/27). The groups called on the British government to increase its AIDS budget to $1.78 billion, with $216 million going toward the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which could face a "severe funding crisis" without the additional money, according to a joint statement released on Monday, the South African Press Association reports. The statement said, "Based on each country's share of global wealth, the U.K.'s 'fair share' would be $216 million. We are currently committed to providing less than a third of this" (South African Press Association, 4/26). "We are asking [members of Parliament] to support our campaign to end the scourge of AIDS," Action for Southern Africa Campaigns Director Aditi Sharma said, adding, "We need a concerted effort from our parliamentarians to ensure that our government starts writing checks to back their promises to Africa. ... Money should not be the barrier in the fight against AIDS." NUS President Mandy Telford said, "Funding the Global Fund is the only way that HIV/AIDS can be tackled on an international level, and a committed coalition of nations can be inspired by Britain taking bold steps in the right direction." UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said that members of Parliament should "press the Treasury in the strongest terms how much that cash help is desperately needed" (BBC News, 4/27). Advocates planned to display a five-foot condom outside the House of Commons to increase awareness about the funding crisis, SAPA reports (South African Press Association, 4/26).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.