Budget boost for AIDS spending
Sunday 28 March 2004
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SOUTH AFRICA: Budget boost for AIDS spending

JOHANNESBURG, 18 February (PLUSNEWS) - South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel announced on Wednesday that a further R2.1 billion (US $305 million) will be allocated to fighting HIV/AIDS over the next three years.

Manuel said in his 2004 budget speech to parliament that this amount included provision for provincially administered antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programmes.

The increase in spending will also cover the implementation of new rural and scarce skills allowances, aimed at improving health services in remote areas and retaining highly skilled professions in the health service. Also planned over the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) is the upgrade or replacement of 27 hospitals.

The additional R2.1 billion will bring the total spending on fighting AIDS provincially and nationally to R12.4 billion (US $1.2 billion) over the three years of the MTEF.

"We welcome the additional amount, and we think it is sufficient to cover the budget estimates that were made in the cabinet's operational plan, released in November last year," Mark Heywood, treasurer of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) told IRIN.

Heywood added: "The challenge now is to make sure the budgeted amount is spent - that it is moved to the provinces quickly, spent transparently and efficiently. There has been a pattern of under-expenditure of money dedicated to HIV/AIDS, so our focus will be on the provincial government budgets and patterns of expenditure."

In November last year the cabinet released its "Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care" for the rollout of ARVs through the public health system.

Estimates suggest that over 500,000 people are in need of ARVs in South Africa, but only 1,500 people are currently receiving treatment, all in the Western Cape Province.

Approximately 5.3 million South Africans are infected with HIV.

[ENDS]

Recent SOUTH AFRICA Reports

Cautious optimism over AIDS drug rollout, 18/Mar/04
Anti-HIV programme fails rape victims, 4/Mar/04
Mobile clinic provide sex workers with health care, 4/Mar/04
Paramedics protest "condom" memo, 27/Feb/04
ARV drug rollout urgently needed, says lobby group, 25/Feb/04

Links

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria

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PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:

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  • Health Systems Trust

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