ZIMBABWE is facing a yawning funding gap in its fight against HIV amid calls for the country to move towards domestic funding of its HIV response programmes.
National Aids Council (NAC) board member Dr Josiah Tayi yesterday challenged Parliamentarians to lobby for the adoption of more sustainable funding mechanisms in fighting HIV. Speaking at an HIV and capacity building meeting for Parliamentarians in Beitbridge, Dr Josiah Tayi said the country needed to start exploring ways of financing its own programmes.
His remarks come against a background where Zimbabwe overly depends on donors to fight against HIV. At least 80 percent of the country’s HIV funding comes from donor agencies while the remainder comes from domestic resources, primarily the Aids levy.
“We are calling you law makers to practically look at the matter and assist through lobbying for more sustainable funding mechanisms. At present we are heavily reliant on donor funds. Should the donors pull out then we are in trouble,” he said.
Dr Tayi added: “We have Aids levy and we are one of the few countries that have managed to make strides in harnessing local resources towards HIV but we can still do more.”
NAC financial director Mr Albert Manenji said there was a 50 percent budget deficit in e country’s HIV response programmes. He pointed out a decline in resource availability, adding that the country needed to start looking for ways to deal with before it gets worse. He revealed that of the $500 million that was needed to fund HIV programmes last year only $250 million was availed. Mr Manenji forecasted a continuous decline in resource availability from donor funding with the funding gap expected to widen to 60 percent by 2018.
Mr Manenji added that with the demands by donors for countries to adopt counterpart financing indications of donor fatigue were becoming more apparent.
“If donors pull out now we won’t be able to fund our own programmes from the Aids levy. Our target this year is to collect $32 million from the Aids levy and we require $8 million a month for treatment only. Without donor funds that money would not last us more than four months.
A total of 43 Members of Parliament are taking part in the capacity building meeting with NAC which ends today.
The meeting also covered tours of Masvingo and Matabeleland South provinces where the law makers had an appreciation of the various HIV intervention programmes being implemented NAC. The MPs were drawn from the Parliamentarian Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care and the Thematic Committee on HIV and Aids.