By Joyce Nyakato
MORE than one million people will be directly affected by the decision of Global Fund to cancel the round 11. The unexpected decision was taken by the Global Fund board of directors on Tuesday. The money was meant for 2014 - 2016.
Government and Ministry of Health officials were still discussing the way forward and many were tight-lipped about the alternative source of funding for the national response planned for fighting HIV, Tuberculosis and malaria.
Government was planning to launch a National HIV/AIDS strategic plan, aimed at reducing the number of new HIV infections by about 30 per cent in the next five years. It includes plans to treat all people living with HIV who need treatment.
Government was also planning to give free ARVs to 50 per cent of people whose partners have HIV, all infected children and all pregnant mothers, regardless of their CD4 count.
Also in the plan was to roll out free medical male circumcision to at least two million men, accredit more health centre IIIs to provide ARVs, which would add 150 centres more and adopt an open policy to provide ARVs to HIV negative people who think they are at risk, especially those who are married to reckless partners.
However, according to Dr Fred Magara, the programme co-ordinator at Walter Reed project, says it is not clear whether people currently receiving ARVs will be affected.
“After the scandal of 2005, donors started sending ARVs and not cash. The suspension of funds will affect other activities and maybe the scaling up,” he said.
Asia Rusell of the Health Global Access Project explains that the Uganda budget for Global Fund round 11 included the continuation of HIV programmes and scaling up interventions.
“The main risk is how to get alternative funding because the whole response is at risk,” she says. “We now must push for more Government contribution because the human costs of scaling back lifesaving programs in Uganda would be unthinkable.”