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Monday, June 12, 2006 









Lack of HIV/AIDS funding hurting region
Web Posted - Mon Jun 12 2006
By Nicholas Cox

THE lack of funding from international donor agencies to upper middle-income countries, like Barbados, for HIV/AIDS programmes continues to hamper prevention efforts in the region.

Barbados has been successful thus far in its treatment programme through financing of the Lady Meade Reference Unit and the anti-retroviral programme by Government, but needs help in funding prevention and behaviour change, said Director of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Alies Jordan.
I think that we recognise that Government alone can't provide all of the resources that we are going to need in this particular aspect of the national programme, and therefore I think it is incumbent on the international donor community to have a re-examine at Barbados, very similar to what the World Bank did five years ago.
We are looking to the international donor community for funding for behaviour change programmes, and that has been a major challenge for Barbados because we have been classified as an upper middle-income country, so that has made us ineligible for donor financing from many different donors, said Jordan.
She spoke to the Barbados Advocate last week from Washington DC after the completion of the high-level plenary meeting on HIV/AIDS, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
According to Jordan, during the meeting Chairperson of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Dr. Carol Jacobs, who presented on the progress in Barbados during a roundtable discussion, highlighted the lack of funding as a challenge to scaling up our prevention programme. Dr. Jacobs said that money was needed to launch empirically based, targeted behaviour change programmes for vulnerable groups.
However, Jordan explained that since this particular meeting was mainly about reporting the progress that national HIV/AIDS programmes have made since the first declaration in 2001, there were not a lot of opportunities to discuss the matter.

The Director recalled that Barbados had made a proposal to the Global Fund, a major source of HIV/AIDS funding, which was rejected because it was found that we had the necessary wherewithal to conduct our own programmes. She said that eligibility criteria have been a major point of discussion for Dr. Jacobs in her role as the Board member for Latin America and the Caribbean on the Global Fund.
However, while the issue of eligibility had not been resolved, a working group had been established to report on the subject.

There was a small victory at the last Global Fund Board Meeting in April 2006, Jordan said, because small island developing states, such as Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grena-dines, and Grenada, were able to become eligible for funding.
However, This question of upper middle-income countries and eligibility affects not only Barbados, but Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, and the list goes on. It also affects several countries in Latin America as well. It is a Latin American and Caribbean position that they would like the Fund to review the eligibility criteria for these countries that have a pretty high disease burden among their vulnerable populations so they can become eligible for grant financing.

She stressed that it was not a question of whether Government could finance these programmes, since it had already placed a large amount of resources at the disposal of the Commission. It was important to remember that the Caribbeans prevalence rate is second only to Sub-Saharan Africa, Jordan said. However, Right now a lot of emphasis is being placed on what is referred to as the second wave countries, India, China, Russia, and forgetting us here in the Caribbean.

With the prevalence rate still so high in the region, she said there was a serious danger being posed by the disease, making prevention and behaviour change even more important

Barbados Advocate ©2000

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