Independent On-line, 23 November 2002, R750m Aids pledge for KZN finally approved

The $72-million (about R750-million) pledged to fight Aids in KwaZulu-Natal has been approved for distribution and could be available in the province as early as January next year.

This follows the news that a billion-rand injection of funds to fight Aids is within weeks of being deposited by the Global Fund into a South African bank account.

The second successful bidder in the Fund's first-round allocation was LoveLife, which will now be able to enhance its prevention programmes nationwide.

In a pre-World Aids Day briefing in Washington this week, Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria said that $616-million was ready to be sent to 40 countries - including South Africa - "between now and the end of the year". The money, he said, would "begin moving" within days.

There are signs that conflict between the province and the South African National Aids Council, the country's co-ordinating mechanism for ensuring the smooth flow of Global Fund money, were being smoothed out.

Department of Health spokesperson, Joanne Collinge, confirmed that there had been a steady interaction between key role players.

A major part of the KwaZulu-Natal initiative will be the expansion of antiretroviral programmes, including a comprehensive package of treatment and care for HIV-infected mothers and their families.