Increased domestic financing for HIV necessary

As external aid for HIV programmes decreases across the Caribbean, an increased mobilisation of domestic resources is necessary to enhance sustainability of, and access to such programming in each of the affected countries.

This is according to Minister of Health John Boyce, who was at the time addressing the opening of a special regional workshop on “Domestic Resource Mobilisation for HIV in the Caribbean” held at the Courtyard Marriott, yesterday.

The two-day workshop convened by the USAID-funded Health Finance and Governance Project is aimed at creating a strategic approach to raising awareness and advocacy for increasing domestic financing for HIV.

Moreover, the meeting seeks to discuss overarching strategies for increased domestic resources for HIV that include efficiency measures; advocacy tools and quality of expenditures; facilitate cross-country exchange on solutions and progress on shared issues and problems; introduce tools and learnings from other country contexts; and facilitate the creation of joint Ministries of Health-Ministries of Finance action plans for each country to improve the working relationship and achieve more from health spending.

Recognising that any health burden is also a financial cost, Boyce is therefore calling on his counterparts to work with their governments and developmental partners to encourage political leadership on issues of health and finance.

He also highlighted the need for them to craft advocacy messages that are tailored to specific country needs.

“I therefore encourage you to support your own programmes and strategies for mobilising domestic resources and take responsibility for your own needs,” he stressed.

“As Health Ministers, we are often the most aware of the challenges the health sector face in regards to ineffective or insufficient spending. Thus, we can play an important role in creating advocacy messages that put health at the top of our governments’ agenda.”

The Health Minister also observed that in some countries access to health care and services has been improved because of the leadership of health ministers. However, he emphasised that continued improvements rest on the responsibility of them as stakeholders to make change happen.

“We must act as intermediaries to create partnerships between international donors and domestic governments and develop benchmarks for resource mobilisation and allocation that reflect a commitment to shared responsibility.”

“UNAIDS Fast Track approach commits to ending the Global HIV epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. As a result, there is great emphasis on countries most affected by the HIV epidemic to find more efficient and cost-effective ways to finance their own responses,” Boyce further stressed. (TL)

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