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Global Fund "approves" funds for WCape

18th November 2003

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Western Cape Premier Marthinus van Schalkwyk has confirmed the approval of more than R455-million from the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and Malaria, in the province.

The funds have been approved in principle for over a five-year period.

In a statement today, Van Schalkwyk said the "approval" was an important breakthrough for the provincial government as it prepared to rapidly roll out antiretrovirals for the treatment of people living with HIV/Aids in the province.

“This funding will boost the ability of our government to act swiftly to implement anti-retroviral treatment in the province,” the Premier said.

The Premier who started a weeklong trip to Europe last week met with the Fund's Portfolio Director: Africa Elhadj Sy in Geneva, Switzerland, this morning, regarding a proposal submitted to the Global Fund in August.

The proposal related to substantial funding in support of the province's fight against HIV/Aids. "Our meeting today was to discuss the last details of that proposal as well as the way forward," said the Premier, adding the funds would help government save millions of lives in the province.

Accompanying the Premier, Health MEC Piet Meyer said the funds would be used to provide anti-retroviral treatment, deepen peer education programmes among the youth and improve hospice care.

Premier Van Schalkwyk said a formal announcement on the roll out of the project could be made on December 1, which is World Aids Day.

“Once finalised this could be both the largest and the single most important international contribution to health in our province,” the Premier said.

The provincial health department has now to answer some "technical questions" about the business plans submitted.

The Office of the Premier said the intention to apply for the funds was done through he SA National Aids Council (Sanac) in its capacity as the country coordinating mechanism in August. Representative of all stakeholders, the proposal was then submitted to Sanac after being reviewed by a technical review panel in Pretoria. The Western Cape proposal was approved by both the national technical review panel and by Sanacfor inclusion into a single combined country proposal. The Global Fund was established in 2001 and is the brainchild of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan as a way to finance Aids projects in the world.

It has since committed over 1,5-billion in funding to support 154 programmes in 93 countries worldwide. – BuaNews.
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