1. section a: Agenda bua@AC

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2.SECTION B: Project planning in the midst of economic recession


Whilst much has been discussed and written about the global recession, the full effects of it on funding have not yet been measured. Arguably though, many affiliates of the AIDS Consortium (AC) have shared stories of reduced or lack of funding from government or foreign donors. These Community Based Organisations (CBOs) are the hardest hit by the crisis, as corporate donors have also slashed their giving which is normally based on a percentage of their net profits after tax following a decline in their net profits.

Every organisation needs to have a plan of action in order to function successfully; in essence where there is an organisation, planning should occur. That is why strategic planning is referred to as an action cycle because once an organisation has reached its objectives it does not stop but continues planning.

Most CBOs have not planned for this crisis, therefore not prepared. They have no alternative funds or reserves to see them through cash flow problems caused by, for example, a delay in donor or government funding.

Through this information pack, The AIDS Consortium provides information around how the economic recession is affecting HIV/AIDS and NGOs. To help and encourage affiliates and other interested members of the South African public who implement HIV and AIDS intervention programmes in various communities to continue to plan, review or optimise their plans and survive in this time of recession. We would like the reader to be aware of the harsh realities posed by the economic recession and its effects on HIV and AIDS intervention projects or programme.

2.2The harsh reality for HIV and AIDS organisations

Various speakers at the 2009 HIV Implementers' Meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, commented on how the HIV and AIDS funding environment has changed. Various stakeholders pondered what the unclear impact might be. Some experts at the meeting worried about other important shifts in the environment: namely there has been a decrease in donor interest in funding HIV/AIDS and an increasing preference for support of general health systems strengthening. Changes in political leadership — for example, in the US and elsewhere —a translating into a loss of the political will to continue with HIV and AIDS was also considered.

Meanwhile, the increasing numbers of people with HIV progressing to AIDS, and the ongoing failure to curb the incidence of new HIV infections mean that the numbers of people needing care will continue growing — making HIV programmes in resource-limited settings even more difficult to sustain. It became largely clear that the sector should try and get the most out of what they have, and do whatever else they can to keep their existing programmes afloat in an era of dwindling resources and waning global interest.

Under US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) II, the plan at least is for the US government to support: treatment for 3 million people, prevention of 12 million new infections, care and support for 12 million people (including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children), in partnership with host countries around the world. To meet these goals, PEPFAR has also committed to support the training of at least 140,000 healthcare workers in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care, including new cadres of healthcare workers.

The question is now, whether the current administration will continue the ‘emergency’ response. Over the last year, the leadership in the US and many other industrialised countries have become preoccupied with the global economic crisis or recession. The crisis makes it look less and less likely that the industrialised world and multilateral funding partners will sustain current levels of aid for health in the resource-constrained settings including South Africa, not to mention to meet their commitments to support universal HIV treatment access by 2010.

By most accounts, prevention programmes are expected to most likely to suffer in the economic downturn if countries emphasise investments in treatments to reduce mortality.

Without a renewed commitment to funding for HIV/AIDS, it is considered impossible to keep up with the demands for treatment. Worse, it may not even be possible to sustain existing programmes. In terms of figures shared in the session, the Global Fund estimates that the funding gap would be about $4 billion, not all of which would be for ART.

The host country of this year’s conference, Namibia, is itself in a predicament. It stands out for reporting great progress on providing treatment and care to its people with 80% of those qualifying for ART on treatment. However, they are 60% dependent upon donor funds.

At the same time, another issue is affecting how some donors are now approaching support of global health. Over the last few years, international agencies and academics have been embroiled in an ongoing debate about the wisdom of disease-specific aid (e.g. for HIV/AIDS) versus funding for general health systems. (Source: HATiP, 2009)

All these above factors point to an increasingly glimmer prospect for financial aid on HIV/AIDS and must be pondered seriously by NGOs in the sector.

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