Papua New Guinea government warned not to divert HIV funding
Papua New Guinea government warned not to divert HIV funding.
A senior official in Papua New Guinea's health ministry is warning the government and international donors not to divert money from HIV/AIDS programmes into other areas.
Dr Nick Dala is the manager of the national STI HIV/AIDS programme and says the government has been fully funding all HIV/AIDS commodities, including anti-retroviral therapy or 'ART'.
He says annual government funding is almost US$6.5 million and Australia through its aid programme contributes about $94 million.
Dr Dala says 12,000 of the 16,000 infected people who need ART are getting it and by changing the parameters for eligibility his team are hoping be able to close that gap very soon.
NICK DALA: This is a critical time now because the Australian government and the PNG government is also questioning the amount of money spent on HIV. When you're actually faced with competing priorities, like you have maternal child mortality very high, you have tuberculosis, you have law and other crime problems, you have disasters, you have infrastructures that you need to fix. And pumping a lot of money into HIV, politicians and even governments in Australia and PNG are making a lot of comments and saying 'Now that we have the incidence coming down we should divert the money elsewhere', but that's the danger, you see? Because our work over the last seven, eight years is starting to bear fruit. And we have to consolidate it, and that means acquire more money. We require more money to do surveys and put in targeted programmes that must be kept running for the next four, five years so that we can keep the HIV infection under control. If we let loose now and said 'We've spent enough money and it's under control' then it'll get out of hand again. So that is the danger, and we're actually addressing it through the DWGs and conversations with development partners. And we're happy that other players are also coming on board, apart from the biggest one, which is the AusAID, and USAID and other international development agencies also coming on board. And the Global Fund, of course, is here to stay for the next three years.
ANNELL HUSBAND: Are you really concerned that there is a government predisposition to diverting the money that has been channelled into HIV/AIDS because it's felt that the situation is sort of under control?
NICK DALA: Uh, well, I see the danger. I'm maybe biased, but I think ignorance is the biggest mistake.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: