By Elias Mhegera August 6, 2012
DIVERTING and abuse of donor funds is a common problem in Africa and many other parts of the world. This was revealed recently during the International AIDS 2012 Conference.
Dr Fatma Mrisho the Executive Director of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) was asked how does deal with this problem and her answer was “it is through a continuous advocacy and some prayers”.
This answer reflects that even Tanzania has not been able to deal properly with the problem of misuse of donors funds. Several times and in various fora it has been discussed that such funds do not reach the targeted people.
The conference to discuss the challenges to tackle new infections was conducted in Washington DC and Dr Mrisho was one of the panelists.
Tanzanians and other foreign dignitaries were invited to view a recorded session and later on experts were allowed to answer questions in response to the presentation.
The event was conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the National Institute of Medical Research on Wednesday last week.
Other presenters at the Washington DC event were Dr Mariangela Simao, from Switzerland, Deborah von Zinkernagel, the United States, Raymond Yekeye, Zimbabwe and Marieke van Schaik, Netherlands.
The moderator at the event was Alvaro Bermejo. In The Tanzania session respondents were Brian Rettmann, Tanzania’s President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Country Coordinator.
Another respondent was Dr Luc Constatine Tanzania’s Country Coordinator UNAIDS. The two respondents concurred in one point that good implementation of programmes stems from a good policy framework in combating HIV/Aids.
“It is only after establishing a good policy framework that the Government’s investment in HIV/Aids programme will yield fruits,” commented Rettmann.
He added that in essence there have been many discussions on this subject but the main problem is that they do not create new awareness in the problem.
On her part Ms Petronella Mwasandube, Health Care Systems expert had this to comment “ we must act more professionally and seek for new solutions to the existing problems.
The presenters warned that there is a reduced donor funding which threatens to undo successes in the global response to HIV/AIDS. The funding provided from donor countries decreased by 10 percent in 2009-2010.
Dr Alex Ngaiza a technical adviser on HIV/Aids said that there was a need to continue with media campaigns on the use of condoms and other safer methods in order to avoid new infections.
“We must not only advocate for increased donor funding, but also invest wisely, and hence the media is very important in disseminating messages against new infections,” he commented.
The panel also advised stakeholders to be innovative and design financing tools for raising large scale funding from non-government sources such as the introduction of an AIDS levy and lotteries.
Moreover they advised that the use of ARVs should not be taken as patients and the community in general as a cure to the HIV/Aids but as a tool for health care and quick recovery.