TANZANIA is likely to experience problems in the fight against HIV and Aids should the decision by major donors, including Canada, Denmark and the United States, to reduce funding fail to get local replacement.
The warning was sounded recently by the Executive Chairperson of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Dr Fatma Mrisho, when she paid a courtesy call on Coast Regional Commissioner (RC), Mwantumu Mahiza.
Dr Mrisho said, "As we are talking now, I have just met representatives from CIDA and DANIDA - both of whom have confirmed to me that they will no longer contribute to the National Multi-Sectoral Strategic Framework (NMSF) - with effect from 2015."
"We, as a nation, need to get prompt replacement for the funding, failure of which all the achievements made in the fight against HIV and Aids for more than 20 years will experience a heavy blow," she added. The Danish and Canadian governments, through their international development agencies DANIDA and CIDA, respectively, constitute a group of key donors who have been contributing to NMSF for many years.
Speaking in Kibaha, Dr Mrisho called on all district councils to start mobilising their own funds to address the looming threat of donor pull-out. She said that while TACAIDS and other local players were currently working hard to see to it that the long awaited AIDS Trust Fund (ATF) became operational, local councils should start raising funds from their own sources to take care of already established HIV/Aidsrelated interventions.
The NMSF is a strategy designed by the government, through TACAIDS, to address the pandemic which former President Benjamin Mkapa declared a national disaster over a decade ago. Some of the interventions are the provision of life-prolonging drugs for people living with HIV; care and support for people living with the virus and home-based care for HIV-positive people and orphans.
The US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was established by former US President George W. Bush ten years ago and has been a leading financier of HIV/Aids interventions in the country, is also reducing funding.
According to PEPFAR, HIV/Aids is no longer an emergency case, hence local efforts could easily handle the pandemic in a sustainable way as the infrastructure was already there.
According to TACAIDS' consolidated recurrent and development budget covering 2010/2013, the country received about 575 million US dollars per year for HIV and Aids national programmes.
So far donors have been contributing 98 per cent of the funds, while the government has been chipping in only 2 per cent of the national programme and 0. 5 per cent contribution by the government was included in donor-backed General Budget Support. Other major contributors are The Global Fund (20 per cent) and UNFPA (2 per cent.)