07 August 2003
Durban, South Africa – The South African government and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today signed agreements committing US$ 41 million over two years for both treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and TB.
The grants will widen access of people living with HIV to life-saving treatment with antiretroviral medicines, as well as strengthen voluntary counseling and testing, in KwaZulu-Natal, the province hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. More than a third of the adult population is estimated to be HIV positive in this province. The province also accounts for 15% of all TB cases in South Africa, contributing to the country’s ranking as 7th among the world’s high burden countries for TB.
The agreement also allocates funds to critical nationwide HIV prevention programs, including loveLife and Soul City. The funds will be utilized by a variety of public and private partners, with the National Treasury acting as the principal national recipient for the Global Fund. The Global Fund and the South African National AIDS Council have agreed that PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) will serve as the Local Fund Agent (LFA) to review financial and programmatic statements on the progress of the grant, which will trigger successive disbursements from the Global Fund.
“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,” said Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “In personally approving the proposal, President 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.” Listen to a statement
South Africa has the highest national HIV prevalence in the world, with one in ten men, women and children HIV positive out of the population of 40 million. AIDS is estimated to have caused 40% of all adult deaths in 2001, as many as 1,000 people a day according to UNAIDS. Turning back this trend is a chief objective of the “3 by 5” goal of the World Health Organization – to ensure that 3 million people in developing countries are on antiretroviral treatment by 2005.
“I am glad these grants have now been signed,” said As Sy, the Global Fund’s Regional Director for Africa. “The sense of urgency is acute. Now there is hope, and we can save lives with medicines the Fund’s money will make available. Also, we can prevent new infections by reaching people with frank, understandable, and useful information. I am really looking forward to strengthening this collaboration to implement the program as quickly as possible.”
The Grants in Detail
KwaZulu-Natal – The province most affected by HIV/AIDS, with a sero-prevalence survey indicating an adult prevalence rate of 36% in 2000, will benefit most directly from the Global Fund grants. The KwaZulu-Natal component of the Global Fund grants aims at complementing the existing HIV/AIDS prevention strategy of the National Department of Health. A 2-year US$ 27 million grant for the Enhanced Care Initiative – a consortium of government, private and civil society partners – intends to promote the “continuum of care” by implementing key interventions ranging from the identification of HIV/AIDS patients with voluntary counseling and testing to the provision of ARV therapies and care for the patients and their families. "In retrospect, writing the proposal and getting it approved was the easy part”, said Dr. Robert Pawinski, Director of the Enhanced Care Initiative. “The challenge now will be to roll out and scale up these programs in KwaZulu-Natal. I hope that the spirit of collaboration will enable us to move rapidly through this process." fact sheet
A 2-year US$ 12 million grant was also signed with the Global Fund to enable the expansion and acceleration of the National Adolescent Friendly Clinic Initiative (NAFCI), a formal partnership between loveLife (website) and the South African Government. NAFCI is an existing national program whose objectives are to improve access and quality of services to adolescents in public clinics dealing with teen sexuality and reproductive health. "Support from the Global Fund will enable loveLife and the Department of Health to rapidly scale up efforts to make public clinics friendly to young people”, said Dr David Harrison, CEO of loveLife. “It's vital to HIV prevention that young people feel free to seek health care, and most clinics already participating in the initiative show a massive demand for both information and clinical services by teenagers. There's a great opportunity to change the course of the epidemic by reducing infection in young people. This funding will help us seize it." fact sheet
The use of entertainment in impacting society is a core area of expertise of the Institute for Health and Communication. The one-year US$ 2 million grant will support the ongoing development and implementation of two vehicles – Soul City (website) and Soul Buddyz – as awareness-raising and mobilisation tools among the youth of South Africa. "We welcome the addition of resources from the Fund to our programmes. We look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to ensuring that HIV/AIDS is defeated in SA," said Soul City's Executive Director, Dr. Garth Japhet.