Spending on fighting Aids is to be boosted by R2,1-billion over the next three years, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel announced on Wednesday. This bulk of this will go towards the cost of the provincially-administered antiretroviral treatment
The additional spending will bring total spending on Aids by the provinces and national government to R12,4-billion over the three years of the medium-term expenditure framework
The plan for a roll-out of ARV treatment at public facilities was approved by cabinet last year, and though the Western Cape already has even more sites than the plan requires, other provinces are lagging behind.
Last year, the MTEF figure for the 2004/05 conditional grant to provinces for programmes - including mother-to-child transmission prevention, post-exposure prophylaxis and voluntary counselling and testing - was R482-million.
However, the new budget allocates provinces an additional R300-million, most of it for ARV treatment.
Next year (2005/06) the figure will be boosted from R535-million to R1,2-billion, and in 2006/07 from R567-million to R1,6-billion, in addition to a total of R172-million extra for the national department.
According to the Treasury, the bulk of the R12,4-billion in HIV/Aids spending over the coming three years will be made up of R6,9-billion in adjustments to provinces' equitable shares to boost general health spending in the face of the costs of Aids.
The rest includes R3,5-billion in conditional grants specifically directed at HIV/Aids, including the R2,1-billion for ARV treatment, R1,3-billion for the national department of health's condoms and prevention programmes, R410-million in education grants for life skills, and R223-million to be channelled through the social development conditional grants for home-based care and support. (Source: Sapa, http://iol.co.za, February 18 2004)
For the full text of the 2004 Budget speech: www.treasury.gov.za/documents/budget/2004/speech/speech.pdf