Former President, Benjamin Mkapa has called upon the public to be active when it comes to contributing towards the Aids Trust Fund (ATF), as there is a deficit of 520bn/- to reach the targeted goals in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Mr Mkapa was speaking on Tuesday night during the ATF Fundraising Dinner 2018 in Dar es Salaam, where 292m/- were collected through cash and pledges.The former President recommended for an increase in the government contribution towards the area, noting that for 2017/18 demand for ant-HIV/AIDS programmes was 1.260trn/-, while donors pledged 740bn/-.
He recalled that in the year 2016/17, the demand was 1.258trn/- wherein donors released 833bn/- and the deficit was 425bn/-, insisting that increasing the nation's financial resources is therefore inevitable. Commenting on how ATF has benefited the community so far, Minister in the Prime Minister's office (Policy, Parliament, Labour, Employment, Youth and Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama, said that last year, the Trust Fund released 260m/- to the Health Ministry, specifically for ARVs and other drugs.
The Fund also released 200m/- to Manyara regional administration, she added, for the construction of HIVAIDS related health centre, meant to serve Mirerani gemstone miners, since the pandemic's transmission was high in the area. "In the same year, 75m/- was set aside for HIV prevention activities to people in the Islands and beaches of Lake Victoria.
I do assure the public that all resources will be allocated to planned areas as per this trust Fund's guidelines," she insisted. ATF guidelines direct 60 per cent of financial resources to be allocated to drugs, 25 per cent for HIV preventive measures, including condoms availability and supply, public awareness campaigns, as well as HIV/ AIDS education which is aimed at behaviour change in the society.
According to the Minister, 15 per cent of ATF income is for empowerment, management and evaluation of the Fund, on top of HIV/AIDS supervision programmes. ATF Board Chairperson, Mr Godfrey Simbeye reiterated that the resource will be allocated to targeted programmes, but challenged that resources realised from fundraising activities alone will not sustain war against HIV/AIDS.
As a way forward, according to him, ATF is set to present a proposal to the government over introduction of special levies in various institutions, to support the (HIV/ AIDS) fight, saying that many countries applied the system (special levies) for a long time.
"At the same time, we do urge both public and private institutions to bring back part of their incomes to the Fund in terms of corporate social responsibility," added Mr Simbeye.