Desmond Tutu Urges Obama to Reconsider PEPFAR Funding

Banners used in a protest against U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to cut back funding for AIDS programs in Africa. Photo by: Kaytee Riek / CC BY-NC-SA Kaytee RiekCC BY-NC-SA

President Barack Obama’s decision to scale down U.S. assistance for AIDS programs in Africa and proposal to cut the country’s contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are ”disappointing” and “distressing,” a South African cleric and Nobel Peace Prize winner says.  

Desmond Tutu, the famed cleric who fought against apartheid, is urging Obama to reconsider his stance on HIV/AIDS funding.

“I appreciate that tough financial times require the United States government to cut spending,” Tutu notes in an opinion piece on The New York Times. “But scaling back America’s financial commitments to AIDS programs could wipe away decades of progress in Africa.”

Tutu, who is also the honorary chairman of the Global AIDS Alliance, says the USD366 million that Obama added to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program in 2010 is way below his pledge of USD1 billion in additional PEPFAR resources during his presidential campaign.

The cleric adds that with the added funds, several countries supported by PEPFAR will not see any increase in aid.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.