SABC News.com - SA petitions for no cuts to Aids funding:Wednesday 25 July 2012

SA petitions for no cuts to Aids funding

Wednesday 25 July 2012 05:27

SABC

South African Deputy President  Kgalema Motlanthe is attending the International Aids Conference in Washington.

South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is attending the International Aids Conference in Washington.(SABC)

The South Africa government, led by deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, has made a strong plea for US funding of the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) to remain at current levels until at least 2015. Joining a broad spectrum of activists on the sidelines of the International Aids Conference in Washington, Motlanthe has petitioned lawmakers to ensure that no further cuts are made to the Pepfar funding from next year after experiencing gradual reductions since 2008.

The proposed White House budget for 2013 would cut Pepfar by around $550 million, threatening the success of programmes around the world, including South Africa.

There was a moment to bask in South Africa's strides in its battle with HIV and Aids. But this was a trip about handshakes and arm-twisting, and the deputy believes the news will be positive.

Motlanthe says: " The assistance they give is 1% of their budget and they see no reason why they should not continue giving that support, particularly with the example that South Africa is setting, the South African government is increasingly taking over the financing of our national effort and so they are committed to continue with the same level of funding and perhaps in three years time, we should find a way of finding out."

 

 

I became a married woman again, my husband is HIV negative and we were blessed 6 years ago with our wonderful son Alexander, who's HIV negative.

At a breakfast hosted by UNAids and the Elton John Aids Foundation, it was left to another South African, to strengthen the case.

Living with HIV for 16 years, she lost her baby at five months and then her husband to Aids. But it was money from Pepfar that changed her life.

Outreach Worker for SA Florence Ngobeni said: "I became a married woman again, my husband is HIV negative and we were blessed 6 years ago with our wonderful son Alexander, who's HIV negative and 18 months we were also blessed with another boy called Khulani and he's also HIV negative. And I cannot share with you how beautiful it is to wake up in the morning to hear my kids running around playing without being ill. Your programmes have saved so many lives and on behalf of those mothers, who are sharing the smile I'm sharing with you today, I'm not crying, I'm just happy, your commitment has made a big difference."

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