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SA government welcomes US decision to increase funding HIV programme

Johannesburg - Almost a week after the National Department of Health signed a three-year $369 million grant made available through the Global Fund geared towards HIV and AIDS-related, malaria and TB programmes, the government on Thursday said it welcomed the decision by the US Government to increase funding for HIV programme through the President`s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) platform.

Last week, the German and French embassies in the country pledged their continued financial support towards projects geared at fighting the AIDS epidemic.

According to the health ministry, the announcement follows negotiations between the Department and PEPFAR in Washington DC last month. Previously, America indicated it was mulling over the idea of slashing the amount that goes towards PEPFAR funding when it enters a new funding cycle in October this year.

In a statement, the Department said it had persuaded PEPFAR’s leadership that as per President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address, South Africa was committed to placing an additional 2 million people living with HIV on treatment by December next year.

“Having at least 6.1 million on treatment and virally suppressed by December 2020 will enable South Africa to move towards epidemic control,” the statement read.

It added, “the US government is one of the biggest international HIV/AIDS donors and has to provide support to the country`s HIV programme since 2004 through PEPFAR.”

Dr Yogan Pillay, Deputy Director General for Health Programmes was quoted as saying that through the agreement that the Department would continue to work alongside PEPFAR to develop a detailed proposal that will aid the Department to increase its treatment programmes and ensure that patients remain on treatment.

“Whilst the proposed total funding envelope is yet to be approved by the US Congress, there is every indication that there will be an increase in PEPFAR funding to South Africa to support our HIV response”, Pillay said.

Read the original article here.

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