*Say countries need $29bn annual investments
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has predicted the lowering of new cases of HIV infection in Africa by 40 to 90 per cent if countries fully finance intervention programmes.
UNAIDS estimated that low and middle-income countries would need investments of $29 billion annually to meet it target of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
It also projected more than seven million AIDS-related deaths by 2030, adding that half of the number could be averted if HIV response was fully financed with right policy orientation.
The research and analysis by Economist Impact, conducted across 13 African countries, said findings showed that fully financing the HIV response would save millions of lives and would produce substantial health, social and economic gains.
It said that by fully financing the HIV response, African countries could get things back on track and be able to achieve the 2030 goals and would produce substantial health, social and economic gains in African countries.
The orgsnisition said that its projections were based on the findings of report titled: ‘A triple Dividend: The health, social and economic gains from financing the HIV response in Africa”
A statement by the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, on the findings as highlighted in the new report, showed that investing in the HIV epidemic would also enhance educational outcomes, especially for young women and girl
It added: “Not only would there be between 40 per cent and 90 per cent fewer new HIV infections, depending on the country, but investing in the HIV epidemic would also enhance educational outcomes, especially for young women and girls, reduce gender inequalities and boost economic growth.”
It further noted that: “This report comes at a critical time with evidence that should act as a catalyst for political decisions to ensure full HIV funding, that will have substantial social and economic outcomes.
“It will put African countries on a path towards building more resilient healthcare systems and be better prepared for future pandemics.
“If the targets for fully financing the HIV response are met in South Africa for example, women aged 15-19 would account for almost 15 per cent of the reduction in new HIV infections by 2030, despite making up less than five per cent of the total population.”
In addition, he said that increased HIV investments today would contribute to wider and sustained economic gains by 2030, and ultimately free up scarce resources going forward to address other critical health priorities.
On his part, Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy Ambassador, Dr. John Nkengasong, said the United States government was proud to join other United Nations Member states to adopt bold new commitments for AIDS financing by 2025.
He added that, “Ending AIDS as a public health threat requires political, programmatic and financial leadership. All government sectors, including the Ministries of Finance, play a key role in increasing domestic financing to ensure that vulnerable populations are reached equitably and receive the prevention, care and treatment services they need.”