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US Mission unclear about future HIV funding

There have been reports of the likely reduction in HIV funding for Africa. While addressing the press at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday 25 2023, the Ugandan coordinator for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR), Mary Borgman, said she is not sure the now 20-year old funding program will be reduced or not.

L-R: Coordinator PEPFAR Mary Borgman, Emilio Dirlikov Centre for Disease Control health services chief and Ministry of Health spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona

What I can say is that we don’t have our budget for the next financial year. This year, we are have allocated $400m for PEPFAR. Whether the funding will reduce or not I can’t tell because I don’t have that information yet,” she said.

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She added: “What I can assure you is that we are committed to the fight against HIV. We also recognise that over the years we have had a lot of gains and we are working towards ensuring that the program continues to be impactful through engaging stakeholders such as the Government of Uganda and other local players.”

Borgman also revealed the United States Government has been working towards changing its funding model to include reliable local Ugandan players. This, she said, is sustainable because working with local organisations helps them build their capacity to be able to give the required health services.

It is very true we have been changing our funding model to include reliable local organisations. We believe this is more sustainable because working with them would help build their capacity which in turn would enable them give the required health services as opposed to bringing in an international organisation that would have to first learn the way of doing things of the communities,” she said.

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She also said the program has come up with HIV spread preventive measures such as the know your status campaign, fighting discrimination and encouraging condom use among others.

Government preparedness

Asked about Government preparedness incase funding is reduced, the Ministry of health spokesperson, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, said there are efforts to ensure there is local funding such as the HIV Trust which he said is incorporated in the law.

While addressing the nation last year, President Museveni said the Ugandan Government would channel funds to saving lives of people living with HIV if PEPFAR funding is reduced. It is however not clear how his Government plans to do this.

"If they take away their money. We will stop building roads and save our people living with the virus," he said.

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PEPAFAR is celebrating 20 years this year ever since former United States President George W. Bush announced on 28 January 2003 the US Government efforts to fund the HIV/AIDs treatment most especially on the African continent.

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