31 May 2012

Namibia: Dwindling Donor Funding for HIV/Aids

Windhoek — The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, has called upon civil society organisations responsible for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patient care-giving to "do more with less" - and be more efficient and accountable since global economic circumstances have become erratic.

The minister was speaking at the opening of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Annual Review Workshop, held in Windhoek on Tuesday.

He said given the economic crisis facing major donors to the Global Fund, and Namibia's rating as an upper middle-income country, the Global fund has scaled down financial contributions.

The situation has been described by UN Resident Co-coordinator Musinga Bandora as posing a challenge to the sustainability of programmes bankrolled by the Global Fund that have made a great difference to many lives.

Kamwi, who just returned from the World Health Assembly, said he had discussions on the challenges related to the delays in fund disbursements, budget cuts and restructuring with the new department head for Africa and the Middle East.

"The response from this new team is encouraging. We were informed they will be coming to Namibia. I wish to seize this opportunity to encourage you to engage with these folks once they are in Windhoek," he said.

He further said government acknowledges that HIV/AIDS is a major development challenge, and pledged government's continued commitment to the fight against the three most devastating diseases - namely, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

"Government and the ministry will do our best to transform the healthcare sector. But true transformation can only come with all of us as Namibians taking responsibility for our own health," he concluded.

UN Resident Co-coordinator Musinga Bandora agreed with Kamwi that HIV/AIDS is indeed a development challenge in Namibia and pledged the support of the UN system in Namibia.

Bandora implored stakeholders to contemplate innovative and efficient ways to convey programmes with the greatest impact and to do it in what he described as a constrained financial environment.

The annual review workshop, which is intended to take stock of the performance of the CCM, ended yesterday.

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