The U.K.’s bilateral aid for HIV and AIDS will see a dramatic drop over the next four years even as the country will be increasing its total bilateral aid for global health by 92 percent.
The move is seen as part of the U.K.’s shift from a focus on specific diseases toward strengthening health systems in general. It is among the results of sweeping aid reviews launched by the U.K. government in 2010 that will refocus the country’s assistance to fewer developing countries.
The U.K.’s total bilateral funding for global health, meanwhile, will increase from 376 million pounds ($580 million) to 723 million pounds by 2015. Some 64 percent of the amount will go to reproductive, maternal and newborn health, says a report by The Guardian.
By contrast, funding for HIV and AIDS is expected to drop from 16 percent in 2010/2011 to less than 6 percent in 2014/2015.
Spending for HIV and AIDS by the Department for International Development will decrease by 32 percent between 2011 and 2015 — from 59.9 million pounds to 41 million pounds.
Asia will suffer the heaviest cut — nearly 85 percent — and Africa, 17 percent.
But the country’s aid agency insisted it was not reducing its efforts to fight the disease, as the country contributes much more through multilateral channels on HIV, AIDS and other diseases. In 2010, the United Kingdom contributed 579.3 million pounds through agencies such as UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
This, however, provides little reassurance for non-governmental organizations, which fear funding for HIV and AIDS might be completely dropped in certain places where it is really needed.
DfID’s overall spending has not yet been finalized, but the agency already announced it would not provide further funding for HIV and AIDS for the Caribbean. This is despite the fact the region has the second-highest prevalence rate in the world. According to DfID, “this sector is well served by other donors.” AIDS funding for Vietnam will be phased out as well.
DfID will also be phasing out part of its HIV and AIDS support program in 2012, and cut its funding for Myanmar to 1 million pounds from 6 million pounds.
The data is based on published country-level budgets from DfID according to The Guardian, while figures for India, Yemen and Malawi have yet to be published.
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