LOS ANGELES--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Today AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) criticized the decision by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to restore funds to China, the second largest economy in the world.
“The decision by the Global Fund to restore funding to China is irresponsible and will likely undermine the credibility of the Fund”
According to the Associated Press in Global Fund lifts China grant freeze (Gillian Wong, August 23, 2011): “The Global Fund froze payments of a $283 million AIDS grant in November after finding that Chinese government agencies had breached an agreement by channeling too small a share of the funds to grass-roots groups. Then in May, it stopped payments of all other grants in China after concerns about how the money was being used by the thousands of counties that receive grant payments.”
Yesterday it was announced that the freeze on grants had been lifted.
“The decision by the Global Fund to restore funding to China is irresponsible and will likely undermine the credibility of the Fund,” saidMichael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “At a time of economic crisis, when contributions to the Fund are decreasing, giving money to China makes no sense. The mandate of the Global Fund is to support countries to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria that cannot afford to do it themselves. Giving precious monies to a country that spends so lavishly on public spectacles like the Shanghai Expo and the Olympics deprives desperately poor countries of what they need to control these infectious diseases.”
According to the Associated Press article: “The dispute comes amid a larger debate among international aid donors and groups about whether China should continue to receive foreign aid, considering its relative prosperity resulting from decades of high economic growth. Critics point to the government's ability to fund a manned space program and extravaganzas like the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while proponents say China still has hundreds of millions of poor and needs international know-how.”
Background on AHF, the Global Fund and China
A number of critics, including AHF, have called into question whether China should be receiving assistance from the Global Fund, which was created by the members of the G8 to help developing countries combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics. As the world’s second largest economy, China has spent tens of billions on the Beijing Olympics and the World Expo in recent years while its contribution to the Global Fund has amounted to $16 million over the past decade. Despite China’s small contribution, the Global Fund has approved over $1 billion in grants to the Chinese CDC — the primary grant recipient in the country — since the Fund’s inception in 2001.
In December of 2010 during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day, AHF kicked off the Fair Share advocacy campaign with a series of protests in front of the Chinese consulates across the United States, Mexico, Russia and South Africa, calling on China to assume its new responsibility as a donor country in the global fight against AIDS.
The Global Fund’s decision to resume grants to China means that poor countries, hard-hit by the epidemics will have fewer resources to provide life-saving treatment and services to their people. According to the AP article, the Chinese government has agreed to allocate 25% of the Global Fund money to NGOs. As a result, the bulk of aid will continue to subsidize the Chinese Health Ministry, while the country’s own resources are invested in pursuits that are perhaps more glamorous than the global fight against AIDS.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 181,000 individuals in 26 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe.www.aidshealth.org