Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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The UK government shakes up development spending

3
MAR
2011

Aids Alliance

As the UK Department for International Development publishes its review of overseas aid support, the Alliance has welcomed the continued commitment of the British government to the world’s poor and vulnerable, and its recognition of the valuable role civil society plays in reducing poverty and improving health.

The result of the Bilateral and Multilateral Aid Reviews shows the UK’s determination to ensure that the money spent overseas has the greatest impact on the lives of the poor.

During the review, the UK government assessed how to ensure that Britain’s aid budget could be more focused and effective, delivering value for money and maximum impact for British tax payers - particularly important given the challenging economic times.

Global Fund excellence

As part of the Multilateral Aid Review, of the 43 global development agencies that DFID works with, the Alliance is particularly pleased that the excellent performance and effectiveness of the Global Fund has been recognised and that the government will increase their financial support for the Fund.

“The Global Fund plays a vital role in the response to AIDS, TB and Malaria and has a huge impact on the lives of individuals and communities, saving over 6.5 million people to date,” said Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of the Alliance.

“It is critical that the UK government continues to fund HIV responses through effective agencies such as the Global Fund and through their own country programmes. Reducing funding or slowing down our efforts now will not only cancel out the progress we’ve made to date, it will also miss our opportunity to reverse the spread of HIV by 2015.”

A focus on women and children

In the Bilateral Aid Review, which looked specifically at DFID’s direct funding to governments and DFID country programmes, the decision has been taken to reduce the number of countries DFID works in to focus more on the poorest and most fragile states. There is also a strong focus on women and girls. The Millennium Development Goals of reducing maternal and child mortality are the furthest from reaching their targets HIV remains the leading cause of death in women of reproductive age in the poorest countries, particularly in southern Africa.

The Alliance works in many of the countries that receives UK aid and sees the difference that it makes to the lives of women and girls, many of whom are living with HIV or who are at risk of HIV.

Women find themselves at greater risk of HIV for many reasons, including lack of access to prevention services and sexual violence. Yet, while disproportionately affected by HIV they also provide the backbone of many of the community responses, often with limited or no support.

Much work is also needed to reduce the number of babies still being born with HIV when there are services available that can prevent transmission from mother to child. The Alliance is working with DFID in South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia to reduce HIV-related maternal mortality and involve women living with HIV to take up maternal health services to prevent their babies from being born positive.

“The Alliance welcomes the UK government focus on women and child health and believes that a strong HIV response is critical to support this agenda and build on progress achieved to date,” said Bermejo. “The UK government plays an enormously important role through its bilateral aid programmes in supporting and testing innovative civil society responses to HIV and broader health which focuses on reaching the most vulnerable and marginalised and we urge them to continue this critical role.”

The UK plays a leadership role

The UK have played an important leadership role in the global AIDS response and have been, for example, at the forefront of calling for progressive policies that address the needs of people most at risk of HIV  such as gay men, injecting drug users and sex workers. People look to the UK government to be a global leader in the effort to reverse the HIV epidemic and the Alliance is committed to supporting the UK government in addressing HIV – one of our greatest global health challenges.

Bermejo added, “The Alliance is continually looking to ensure that we deliver results and save lives and we are pleased to be working with DFID to meet these goals. It is important that the UK government continues to keep HIV and AIDS high on the agenda and remains a world leader on this issue.”