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Belarusian public associations involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS are sounding the alarm: they have been working without financial assistance for almost three months. Because of this, many organizations are forced to suspend work, others cope with difficulty, warning everyone about a decrease in the number of employees and a shortage of consumables.

All depend on the grant

Grants to contain the HIV epidemic in Belarus have been issued by the Global Fund to Fight this Disease for many years. The previous one ended on December 28, 2018. The new one was approved – for 2019-2021. However, since the beginning of the year, funds have not been received.

“This situation is critical for everyone. It cannot be interpreted as“ non-governmental humanitarian organizations (NGOs) on the verge of closure. ”This grant also includes the provision of services in healthcare organizations. For example, treatment of HIV and tuberculosis, as well as a number of other vital services. Lack of registration of the project jeopardizes the purchase of drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis – an infection that is on the list of diseases that pose a threat to public health, "said Sputnik, chairman of the board Nia "Positive Movement" Irina Statkevich.

HIV and AIDS: symptoms and spread (infographic)

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                    RIA News

Important to know: HIV / AIDS symptoms

According to Statkevich, almost all treatment for children with HIV infection is carried out from a grant. “It’s hard to imagine what the consequences of interruptions in procurement can be,” the chairman of the association added.

The activities of the allocated grant are implemented by about five public organizations, including the Belarusian Red Cross Society.

“Organizations are trying their best to support activities. But no one expected that this period would be three months — the entire first quarter of work. Social workers go to work, despite the fact that they have not received their salaries for almost three months now. There are arrears of indirect costs ( utilities, rent, etc.), which greatly spoils the reputation of organizations, and the grant as a whole. Less and less customers are contacting, because it is impossible to provide the necessary assistance. We are losing the accumulated amount of work. restore, "said Statkevich.

The fund gave – the country did not take

The problem with obtaining funds from the Global Fund is the registration procedure for international technical assistance (ICC) – it must be approved by the government. In practice, the coordination of this assistance is sometimes delayed, which is why NGOs often have to not submit grant applications at all, because sponsors often require a quick start to the implementation of announced projects.

“There are different topics of the projects – roads, culture, heritage, ecology. This is all important. Healthcare grants often involve the purchase of medicines, equipment, assistance to people affected by a disease. Long registration does not allow people to get help in a timely and uninterrupted manner. It is unfortunate that assistance related to the life and health of people does not have advantages during registration, "said Statkevich Sputnik.

Laboratory work, archive photo

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                    Sputnik / Grigory Sysoev
Over 20 thousand people with HIV registered in Belarus

There are many stages in the procedure for registering ICC projects. All ministries agreed a grant to fight HIV / AIDS on January 29. “And then again coordination in two months. In short, the process is excessively bureaucratic,” she complained.

The Republican Scientific Practical Center for Medical Technologies is entrusted with administering this assistance in Belarus. “Social activists” complain: the center is opaque and does not do everything possible to receive a grant. At the same time, Statkevich emphasized: the better the RPRC as a grant operator fills in all the documents, the faster the rest of the procedures go through. For example, in 2015, it took several weeks.

Last grant

Funds, as Statkevich emphasized, have been allocated for a period up to 2021.

"At present, it is considered that this is the last grant from the Global Fund. Next, the country should finance the programs for the prevention and treatment of HIV infection and tuberculosis itself. Perhaps something will change, and there will be a decision to continue financing," she said.

At the same time, the chairman of the association recognized: the authorities in recent years have significantly expanded the financing of medicines for the treatment of HIV and tuberculosis. Thus, more than 90% of all funds for HIV treatment are allocated by the state.

At the same time, the share of Global Fund assistance in financing HIV prevention among vulnerable groups is over 80%.

Medical laboratory, archive photo

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                    Sputnik / Alexander Shurmelev
Almost all HIV drugs learned to be produced in Belarus

“However, there is progress in this area, for example, the beginning of the state social order (ordering social services from NGOs),” she said.

Left a little?

Sputnik could not get an operational comment in the press service of the Ministry of Health of Belarus on this topic.

However, the decision to approve the grant is made by the government – the prime minister signs the relevant decisions. The package of documents was submitted to the Council of Ministers on February 21. According to the law, it must be considered within 30 calendar days.

The press service of the Council of Ministers Sputnik emphasized that the consideration of the draft international technical assistance is proceeding in the manner prescribed by law. It is impossible to name specific dates for a decision.

. (tagsToTranslate) finance (t) health (t) financing (t) medicine (t) HIV / AIDS (t) Belarus

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