National AIDS Council faces funding crisis

The National AIDS Council's funds are dwindling as revenue collected by the National Aids Trust Fund (NATF) dropped way below the projected budget figure for 2015.

Combat_HIV_and_AIDS,_Malaria_and_Other_DiseasesNational finance director of National AIDS Council (NAC), Albert Manenji, told journalists at the HIV/AIDS intervention media workshop in Macheke that the 2016 resource gap will increase by US$97 million from last year’s US$163 million deficit, a situation that needs urgent attention.

Manenji said that the country needs alternative sources of revenue as demand for resources to fight HIV/AIDS is set to increase by US$125 million in 2018.  NATF income revenue, popularly known as the ‘AIDS Levy’, is however predicted to drop by US$66million in the same period, leaving a deficit at US$354 million.

80% of NAC income comes from external sources, mostly donors such as the Global Fund whose contract ends in 2016 but is expected to be renewed in 2018. For the year 2017 NAC will use the US$200 million left over from last years’ US$555 million budget.

The remaining 20% revenue comes from individuals living with HIV and the general public through NATF programs.  This failed to meet the US$39 million projected budget in 2015, collecting just over US$36 million.

“Due to competition, funding for HIV is declining. This calls for thinking outside the box. Perhaps the time has come to target the private sector. They do appear keen to contribute when we initially approached them. We also need to learn from other countries such as Zambia where, for every capital project done in that country, 10% goes to issues related to HIV/AIDS,” said Manenji.

Manenji assured those present  that no increases will be made to the ‘AIDS levy’ despite the decrease in the NATF revenue collection, stating that the current levy rate is already taxing workers.

However, these revelations already spell bad news to the Test and Treat programme advocated for during the ICASA conference recently held in Harare as there probably wont be funds to run the programme.

Post published in: Health

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