US APPROVES 483 MLN USD BUDGET TO FIGHT HIV/AIDS IN SOUTH AFRICA

JOHANNESBURG, The United States has approved a 483 million US dollars Country Operational Plan 2017 (COP2017) budget for South Africa to tackle HIV/AIDS under the US president's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), says US Global AIDS Co-ordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy Ambassador Deborah Birx.

The COP2017 budget will support South Africa's HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) programmes until September 2018 under the PEPFAR, the US government's initiative to help save the lives of those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS around the world.

Since 2004, PEPFAR has invested more than 5.6 billion USD in South Africa's response to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS and TB. This investment has saved the lives of millions of South Africans.

With this new funding allocation, the US Embassy in Pretoria, through PEPFAR, will continue programmes in support of South Africa's HIV/AIDS and TB response under the recently launched 2017-2022 HIV, TB, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) National Strategic Plan (NSP).

An additional 51 million USD in funding to support South Africa's voluntary male medical circumcision programme may be available based upon programme performance.

Speaking at the PEPFAR COP2017 Review here last week, Dr Yogan Pillay, the National Health Department's Deputy Director-General for HIV/AIDS, TB and Maternal, Child and Women's Health said: I wish to thank the US government for its continued support of our country's response to the HIV and TB epidemics under its PEPFAR programme.

Given the scale of the challenges that we face, it is unlikely that the progress we have made would have been possible without its support, and neither would we be able to achieve the targets in the National Strategic Plan.

Senior US and South African government health officials and civil society attended the session. Birx acknowledged South Africa's leadership, commitment and substantial funding of the national HIV response, and highlighted the need for continued use of data, improved approaches, and rigorous programme management.

South Africa funds more than 80 p[er cent of its national HIV response, which provides life-saving care and treatment to more than 3.7 million persons living with HIV (PLHIV). PEPFAR funding supports national and provincial programmes focused on the 27 highest HIV-burdened districts in eight provinces. These 27 districts represent more than 80 per cent of South Africa's PLHIV.

From October 2017 through September 2018, PEPFAR will continue to assist South Africa in providing more than one million additional PLHIV with life-saving treatment, for a total of 4.3 million on treatment in the 27 focus districts.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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