Local Resource Mobilisation Through the Media
[Editor’s Note: This article is the first in our yearlong Global Vision Series, meant to educate U.S. fundraisers on the challenges faced and strategies employed by their counterparts across the globe.]
The social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS extends beyond the loss of labour force and productivity, and leads to an ever-escalating cost for the families affected and the government providing treatment to infected individuals.
HIV/AIDS and related diseases remain a huge burden on health care systems. In Tanzania, more than 30 percent of the resources are spent on diseases related to HIV/AIDS, but there still is insufficient funding to combat the HIV/AIDS problem. The 2003 Public Expenditure Review for Tanzania revealed spending to be at US $6 per capita, leaving a gap of US $3 per capita from the target set by its Ministry of Health of US $9 per capita.
Considerable strain has been placed on available health resources and facilities, as medical wards flood with patients. The demand for equipment and drugs outstrips budgets, leading to chronic shortages. HIV/AIDS is considered to be the single greatest threat to the country’s security and socio-economic development, as well as to its citizens’ survival and well-being.
Despite widespread knowledge of HIV and some successful local initiatives in its prevention and control, there have been steady increases in HIV prevalence since 1996, and there are no significant signs to show that the infection and prevalence trends have been halted and/or reversed. Prevalence is higher in women than in men, and the gap between male and female infection rates has increased.
However, it is not just adults who are affected; their children also are, leading to the alarming problem of AIDS orphans. The 1999 Tanzania Reproductive and Child Health Survey shows that about 9 percent of all Tanzanian children under the age of 15 are orphans mostly due to AIDS. The Eastern and Southern African Universities Research Programme has estimated the total number of HIV/AIDS orphans at 2,549,885, and the number is projected to reach 4 million by 2010. These orphans face a shortage of basic needs. And they run the risk of not being enrolled in school, being withdrawn from class, becoming working children, living on the streets and being sexually abused.