Nimatallah: Low PEPFAR Funding Spells Disaster in Africa

After providing treatment to more than 2.4 million AIDS-infected people, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief will see flatline spending that may imperil Africa.

The U.S. Congress is on track to approve a meager 1.8 percent increase in PEPFAR funding for 2011, according to Leila Nimatallah, interim executive director and policy director at the Global Action for Children.

But “now is not the time to slow down,” Nimatallah wrote in The Huffington Post.

“What began as a transformational shift in the impact of a terrible disease will return to small successes around the margins – allowing the pandemic to grow stronger once again. The numbers of orphaned and vulnerable children will balloon as another generation of parents will be lost,” she argued.

Nimatallah said AIDS is the single leading cause of mortality in children under five in the five nations with the highest adult HIV prevalence worldwide.

“It has been said that great necessities call forth great leaders, and with the world’s finances still in crisis, this is surely one of those times. It is that type of great leadership that we need now. Governments, led by President Obama and the U.S. Congress, must step up and provide full funding to PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria,” Nimatallah said.

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.