In the international aid community, there has always been a debate on how to best allocate funds for development — to say nothing of the debate outside the aid community as to whether aid even works in the first place. Sunday’s Guardian includes a look at how aid funds are spent in Africa, including statements from several prominent HIV/AIDS advocates discussing the misuse of funds aimed at HIV and AIDS in Africa.
One of Africa’s leading health economists, Alan Whiteside, who is director of the Health Economics and HIV/Aids Research Division at the University of KwaZulu Natal, said the flood of donations towards the battle against Aids had also created the conditions for widespread misuse of the funds…The achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015 depends on us getting our focus on Aids right.
“Where those goals are missed by the widest margins, Aids will have been responsible. The focus on treatment has distracted us from prevention. Solutions need to be tailored to the situation in each country. Money needs to be reallocated based on what we know now, not what we knew then.”
The challenge in allocating funds toward HIV/AIDS, or any number of other diseases or development issues, is in ensuring that those funds are used in the most appropriate and most efficient ways. Just as we have to prioritize funding within our country in a realistic and practical way, we must prioritize how foreign aid funding distributed, regardless of the target. The focus should not be on emphasizing certain diseases over others, but rather on supporting effective programs that reduce risk as well as treat those affected by AIDS and other afflictions.
-Until There’s A Cure