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HIV, TB funds freeze ‘will have big effect’

HIV, TB funds freeze ‘will have big effect’

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AIDS patient Sem Khorn is attended to by his wife Van Ren inside a hospice at the Wat Opot Buddhis temple in the Takeo province, 50 kilometres south of Phnom Penh. Reuters

The decision by the world’s largest donor to government agencies and NGOs that combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to freeze new funding for two years will in Cambodia have the biggest impact on the prevention, care and treatment of people with TB and HIV/AIDS, a senior health official said yesterday.

The fund pays for medicines for about 37,000 Cambodians who have HIV/AIDS, according to its last update on November 10, and it had already spent about 84 per cent of the US$381 million in grants earmarked for Cambodia between 2004 and 2015.

Tem Vra, program manager of the HIV/AIDS coordinating committee, said most funding for preventing HIV infection and providing care and treatment to those living with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia came from the Global Fund.

On Wednesday, the Geneva-based fund, which draws from private and government sources, announced that it would freeze new grants for two years and replace its executive director. The announcement followed a review that began last March after reports of “grave misuse of its funds” in four African nations.

“This will have a big effect on Cambodia,” Tem Vra said, adding that NGOs and governmental agencies would have to start looking for new sources of funding.

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