South African Treasury Approves ‘Roll Over’ of Unspent AIDS Funds
The South African Treasury has given the country's Department of Health permission to "roll over" to this fiscal year more than $11.7 million in unspent AIDS funding from the past fiscal year, Business Day reports. The health department's FY 2003-2004 HIV/AIDS budget increased 67% over the previous year to $119.9 million, the bulk of which was provided to the country's nine provinces through provisional grants. Although there was "considerable improvement" in the ability of the provinces to spend the grants, more than $11.7 million has not been spent, Dr. Nono Simelela, director of the health department's HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis program, said, according to Business Day. Simelela said that $6.5 million of the $11.7 million was left over from a $14.1 million allocation made late in the fiscal year for the country's antiretroviral drug treatment program was unspent, Business Day reports (Kahn, Business Day, 6/1). The South African Cabinet in November 2003 approved a plan for the program, which aims to provide antiretroviral drugs to 1.2 million people -- or about 25% of the country's HIV-positive population -- by 2008. Officials expect 50,000 people to be on antiretroviral drugs by the end of the year and 1.4 million people to be receiving treatment by 2009, at a total cost of $700 million (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/9). Simelela attributed the additional underspending to other programs, including money to purchase condoms and money allocated to the South African National AIDS Council. In addition, the health department for the first time this year will begin reallocating provinces' unspent HIV/AIDS conditional grant funds to other provinces to provide further incentives for them to spend all of their funding, Simelela said (Business Day, 6/1).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.