World AIDS Day: Funding cuts risk children’s lives

On World AIDS day, Save the Children warns that major cuts to HIV and AIDS work are a false economy.

Thursday 1 December 2011

A major shortfall in pledged resources to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria could leave up to 1.4 million orphans and vulnerable children without support.

The cuts could also restrict successful prevention and treatment activities for those most at risk.

Huge impact

For the first time in its ten-year history, the Global Fund has been forced to cancel its latest round of applications because of insufficient support from donor countries.

This means that new applications will not be received until 2014.

As the Fund accounts for one-fifth of external assistance for people affected by HIV and AIDS, and two-thirds of funding for TB and malaria, the impact of this is enormous.

A step backwards

“In the current economic climate, governments obviously have to think very carefully about how they spend taxpayers’ money”, said Patrick Watt, Global Campaign Director for Save the Children.

“But just as the world is making huge strides in the fight against HIV and AIDS, the goal of creating an AIDS-free generation, where no children are born with HIV will not be possible unless the Global Fund is able to continue scaling up its work.”

Loss of funding will mean less support for critical HIV and AIDS programmes, and cuts in new maternal and newborn health activities linked to these.

A false economy

Plans to extend care and support to an additional 1.4 million orphans and vulnerable children in the developing world, improvements in prevention of HIV for young people, and strengthened services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV will probably now be shelved.

“Funding these investments isn’t just a moral imperative – although clearly, there is a pressing need to support children orphaned by AIDS,” said Patrick Watt.

“There is also a strong economic case. Investing in tackling HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria pays many times over. Donors need to think again as, in the end, hampering the Global Fund’s work is a false economy.”

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