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PEPFAR extends aid for SA’s fight against HIV/Aids and TB

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The US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief’s (PEPFAR) has approved millions in support of SA’s HIV/Aids and TB programmes through to September 2018.

South Africa will receive $483m in the fight against HIV/Aids and tuberculosis (TB), following approval by US Global Aids coordinator and special representative for global health diplomacy ambassador Deborah Birx. Polity reports that falling under the (US) President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief’s (PEPFAR’s) Country Operational Plan 2017 budget for South Africa, the allocation will support South Africa’s HIV/Aids and TB programmes until September 2018.

Since its inception in 2004, PEPFAR has invested over $5.6bn in South Africa’s response to prevent and treat HIV/Aids and TB.

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 in the fight against the epidemics.

The report says with the 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 National Strategic Plan. Depending on the performance of the programme, a further $51m in funding to support South Africa’s voluntary male medical circumcision programme may be made available.

National Department of Health deputy director-general Dr Yogan Pillay said in the report that he appreciated the continued support of the US government in South Africa’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 (the US government’s) support, and (even so, we) will (not) be able to achieve the targets in the National Strategic Plan,” said Pillay.

South Africa funds more than 80% of its national HIV response, which currently provides lifesaving care and treatment to more than 3.7m persons living with HIV.

PEPFAR funding also supports national and provincial programmes focused on 27 districts which represent more than 80% of South Africa highest HIV-burdened districts in eight provinces.

Polity report

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