Donors give K450m to fight HIV/AIDS

National, Normal

MORE than K450 million has been spent by Papua New Guinea’s development partners in the past 12 years to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, National AIDS Council (NAC) chairman Sir Peter Barter said yesterday.
These partners included AusAID, UNAIDS, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, Global Fund, the US government and a number of foreign embassies.
Sir Peter said in a statement that AusAID had provided direct financial assistance to fund staff salaries (mostly Papua New Guinean staff), vehicles, IT equipment, monitoring and evaluation capability, travel, conferences and procurement of goods and services.
It had also helped in the construction of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) sites, construction and equipment of sexually transmitted infections (STI) clinics and testing laboratories and technical training of staff.
“Most importantly, they provide direct funding to our major stakeholder partners such as faith-based organisations, Government departments and NGOs to undertake all HIV/AIDS activities.
“This has amounted to more than A$150 million (K367 million) during the past 12 years,” Sir Peter said.
UNAIDS, according to Sir Peter, has provided technical assistance, specialist manpower assistance, IT equipment, training, international and domestic conferences, leadership, salary costs, VCT, etc. This had added up to US$30-35 million (K80-K93 million).
ADB on the other hand, had provided funds for upgrading scores of rural health facilities rebuilding, rehabilitating and equipping them, procurement of condoms and related health services in enclave settings for many years.
It also had provided IT equipment and specialised training for doctors, nurses and other staff who deal with HIV/AIDS and STIs while UNDP has provided for procurement of goods and services and technical assistance upon request, global best practices, domestic and global comparison exercises, IT equipment, VCT, training, etc, for many years.
Global Fund, according to Sir Peter, had provided grant money for ARV drugs, VCT sites, opportunistic infections management, STI management, malaria, salaries, operational costs, technical assistance, IT equipment, testing laboratories, training, domestic and international travel, monitoring and evaluation, etc, over the past several years. 
“Global Fund has, in fact, rescued the Government over the past 6-7 years as it has had to purchase all the ARV drugs which have been dispensed to our people who have tested positive and are now living with the virus. Without this help these people would be dead. This fund has provided up to US$40-50 million (K106-K130 million) to fund these programmes,” Sir Peter said.
He said the US  government had also provided direct financial assistance to a number of global and domestic NGOs which deal with family violence, VCT, STI/STD, care and counselling.