Ethiopia Activists to China: Show Us the Money

Ethiopian AIDS advocates want to get the decision makers on board with calling on China to give $1 billion to the Global Fund. AHF sponsored a coalition meeting in Addis Ababa on April 28 to hash out the advocacy plans to make that happen.

“The purpose of the meeting was mobilizing government and local partners to influence China for the replenishment of the Global Fund and to press the need for collaboration,” Henok Melesse, AHF Ethiopia Prevention Program Manager said. “These organizations are benefiting from the Fund in one way or another and help the community, but the current financial constraints are having a direct negative impact on their efforts in the fight against HIV.”

China boasts the world’s second largest economy, yet it pledged only $18 million during the most recent Global Fund replenishment held last September. Japan’s economy is less than half of China’s, but it mustered a pledge of $800 million. Germany’s commitment of 800 million euros also far surpassed China’s.

Ethiopia currently has an estimated 730,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV). In recent years, HIV/AIDS has received less attention, resulting in inadequate resources, less effective HIV testing programs, and decreased numbers of test kits and condoms. These problems are exacerbated by financial cutbacks and decreased Global Fund commitments.

“We utilized the previous Global Fund money in a very appropriate and ethical way and did a lot for our people in relation to the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in our country,” Mengistu Zemene, Executive Director of Mekdim Ethiopia National Association of PLHIV said. “The Chinese government must give attention to increase the expected donation as much as they can.”

AHF has been operating in Ethiopia since 2008 and provides care to 3,414 people.