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Health News Wed, 16 Oct 2019

Government urged to improve tax for HIV control

The Society for AIDS in Africa and Accountability International, an African Civil Society Organisation (CSO) have urged African governments to improve mobilisation of tax from citizens especially, middle to high-income earners to control HIV infections.

This will bridge the gap of 20 percent global funding for HIV, and help the continent to meet the UNAIDS 2020 and 2030 targets of fighting HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The recommendation was given at a consultative meeting organised by the two organisations for health sector workers and CSOs on the continent in Accra to discuss a report of a “Scorecard Validation on HIV Financing in Africa.”

Ms Phillipa Tucker, the Research Development Director of Accountability International, said in the past 20 years, national governments, global funded and CSOs made significant progress in expanding access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment and prevention options in the fight against HIV.

At the same time, contributions by international donors flatlined, even though, there is a $5 billion gap in the resources needed to achieve the joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS 90-90-90 targets.

Hence, the need for African governments to find sustainable means of generating funds to finance HIV/AIDS prevention and control, she explained.

Ms Tucker said to support the campaign for Africa to generate funds, Accountability International developed a Scorecard to grade countries against each other to encourage them to work harder in that regard.

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The Scorecard would also enlighten countries on what others did to control HIV in terms of policies and actions, to influence them.

Other ways are innovative financing, where existing instruments such as established products and mechanisms are brought to investors for new markets to expand resource mobilisation, she explained.

Public-Private Partnerships and impact investment, also play key roles in mobilisation of resources, she said.

“This will enable impact investors to take a sustainable perspective to their work considering the unintended consequences of their investors as other structures to mobilise funds,” she said.

Ms Tucker mentioned Corporate Social Responsibilities, Philanthropists support, diaspora remittances, African Governments implementations in economic strength, key population data, health as a government priority, sources of health financing, and cost to end the epidemic as ways to support the campaign.

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Per data collected for the Scorecard, she said, Ghana recorded 14,000 AIDS-related deaths and 20,000 percent change in new HIV infections in 2018. Ghana also recorded ‘no data’ for sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, transgender people, people living with HIV and prisoners for avoidance of healthcare because of stigma and discrimination.

Mr Patrick Brenny, the Regional Director of UNAIDS, said African nations needed to have sustainable responses towards HIV, by mobilising resources themselves as external resources were not reliable.

“How do we have systems that are going to work so that we don’t depend on the charity of someone else going to give us funding, which may be there today and be gone tomorrow,” he said.

He said conclusions made at the end of the meeting would be put before parliaments across the continent, as parliamentarians had great influence on policies and budget allocation in the area of health.

Source: ghananewsagency.org
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