In Ukraine, football receives better treatment than AIDS

In Global, Ukraine by AHF

La tribune de Genève 06.06.2012,14:21

By Sébastien Gobert

With 400 000 people living with AIDS, Ukraine is the only country with Russia in Europe where the epidemic continues to grow.

«Ukraine has managed to rise over $560 million to renew the Kyiv Olympic stadium. Meanwhile, the country hasn’t held its promise to save the lives of its people living with AIDS. While the start of Euro 2012 football championship is about to be whistled, Ukraine has been assigned a red card by the Dutch organization AIDS Fonds in an open letter to the President Viktor Yanukovytch.

With approximately 400 000 people living with HIV, Ukraine is the only country in Europe with Russia where the epidemic keeps on growing. In April, the American organization AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has addressed an open letter to the Global Fund to fights AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Since 2004, the latest has allocated 316 million dollars to Ukraine. With a bitter result: among 170,000 people in need of antiretroviral drugs in December 2010, less than 23,000 were receiving it. Which is as much as in Myanmar that nevertheless received ten times less money than Ukraine.

AHF has requested the reprogramming of 75% of the Global Fund’s grant to “focus on access to treatment. The epidemic could finally be reversed”, said Constance Boris, regional manager at AHF. In March, the first draft of an audit of the Global Fund on the situation in Ukraine denounced widespread embezzlement of funds, in particular from the principal recipients of this aid, Alliance-Ukraine and the Ukrainian Network of PLHIV.

Cases of non-transparent tenders or excessive wage policy described in the audit, were entirely dismissed by Kostiantyn Pertsovskiy, public relation officer at Alliance-Ukraine “There has been no embezzlement, otherwise the Fond would have asked us to give back the money. It’s as simple as this. And yes, our salaries are high, but this is because we want to hire the best specialists”.

The director of an ONG fighting against AIDS, in Kyiv, who has chosen to remain anonymous, shared his feeling of indignation: “If you compare the NGO’s that work on the field and the prestigious Alliance-Ukraine, the salaries can vary from 80 to 800 euros for the same position! This has no sense. According to me, approximately 30% of the money of the [Global] Fund disappears in mysterious transactions”. He considers that solving these problems would able Europeanization of Ukraine, much more than through football.

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