TAC facing closure

TAC depends on a five year grant from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for a large portion of its work. It is one of the sub-recipients of what is called the Round 6 grant. In July 2011 TAC was supposed to receive a R6.5 million tranche ($760,000). However, primarily due to poor administration by the Primary Recipient, the National Department of Health, the payment of the tranche to all sub-recipients continues to be delayed.
‘€œThe consequence of this is that TAC faces an acute cash flow crisis. Unless the tranche due is paid to TAC by the first week of January, we will go into an unsustainable deficit in February 2012, which means that we would have to retrench all our staff and close our offices at the end of January 2012,’€ the activist movement said yesterday (WED).
‘€œBesides the fact that over 230 activist organisers will lose their income, the closure of TAC would be a setback for South African democracy,’€ the movement said.
‘€œThis crisis is not of our making. Our finances are a model of transparency and good governance. All our audits have been clean and are available on our website,’€ the TAC said.
The TAC said it hoped that the Global Fund and Department of Health would at a meeting today (THURS) try to resolve the impasse.  
But the future looks bleak.
Yesterday the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has decided to effectively cancel its 11th funding round due to a lack of resources ‘€“ an unprecedented act in its history.
The Global Fund was created 10 years ago to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world’s most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need.
But declining donor funding has placed the fund   in the most dire financial situation it has seen since its creation.
The Global Fund announced that it would provide for a ‘€œtransitional funding mechanism,’€ whereby countries known to be facing a disruption of programs for HIV, TB and malaria before 2013 would be offered a chance to apply for funding to cover their most essential needs. For HIV, this funding can cover medicines for people already on treatment, but does not provide for scale-up of HIV treatment. Funding will also be restricted for treatment of drug-resistant forms of TB.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) called on the Global Fund and donors to immediately raise the resources necessary for the minimum lifeline the Fund has extended to countries otherwise facing disruptions this year, as well as providing a new regular funding opportunity.
‘€œThe dramatic resource shortfall comes at a time when the latest HIV science shows that HIV treatment itself not only saves lives, but is also a critical form of preventing the spread of the virus, and governments are making overtures that there could be an end to the Aids epidemic.
Yet on the ground in hard-hit countries where MSF works, the devastating effects of the overall funding crunch are becoming apparent ‘€“ for example, Cameroon and Zimbabwe are facing shortfalls in the near future to support people already on treatment, and the Democratic Republic of Congo severely caps the number of people able to start on life-saving HIV treatment,” MSF said.
It added that in other countries, such as Mozambique, funding problems have prevented the country from providing earlier treatment and better drugs, per World Health Organisation recommended guidelines.  
Some countries, including Kenya, Lesotho, and South Africa, had already been told by the Global Fund that they weren’t eligible to apply for funding from Round 11 because of lacking funding. In these countries, HIV treatment coverage lies at 52 percent, 66 percent and 49 percent, respectively.
‘€œThere’s a shocking incongruence between both the new HIV science and political promises on one hand, and the funding reality that is now hitting the ground on the other,’€ said Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of MSF’s Access Campaign.    
‘€œDonors are really pulling the rug out from under people living with HIV/Aids at precisely the time when we need to move full steam ahead and get life-saving treatment to more people.   All governments must chip in to the effort to curb HIV, but especially those with the capacity to really make a difference must urgently step up and support a new funding opportunity for countries by the Global Fund.’€
‘€œIt is deeply worrisome that inadvertently, the millions of people fighting with deadly diseases are in danger of paying the price for the global financial crisis,’€ said the Global Fund’s Executive Director, Michel Kazatchkine. ‘€œThere are millions of people dependent on Global Fund resources to stay alive and healthy, and the Global Fund will redouble its efforts to increase the available funding to continue to scale up HIV, TB and malaria interventions.’€


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