CAFOD said today the Global Health Fund is an encouraging first step in tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but warned that the money will not work as a stand-alone measure in countries coping with increasing poverty and debt and where education and health infrastructures are collapsing. Policy analyst Henry Northover said: "If the Global Health Fund is going to be effective there needs to be clear and transparent monitoring of how the proceeds are used. It has to have effective mechanisms ensuring the money reaches local communities and not bureaucrats. This will require a strong element of civil society representation in deciding the allocation of funds. "There is concern about the over representation of pharmaceutical companies in administering the health fund, at the expense of the voices of those working directly with those affected by HIV/AIDS. "The Fund should not be restricted to buying short-term pharmaceutical treatments, but should fit in with broader sustainable strategies. HIV/AIDS thrives in pools of poverty, and where there is a lack of education and health care. The Global Health Fund will only have an impact if it is complementary with successful poverty reduction strategies. "The G8 appear to be giving Health Fund money with one hand and taking away with the other in the form of debt repayments. CAFOD calls on the G8 to ensure that the Global Health Fund is genuinely additional finance for the world's poorest governments and does not come at the expense of further debt relief or increased development assistance. "A successful Health Fund will be one that is integrated into a more coherent approach to poverty reduction. For the G8 to successfully tackle this appalling crisis, it must come with a more robust approach to debt relief. The Fund is off to a shaky start when 23 countries of the targeted countries are are still paying more than three-quarters of a billion dollars a year to the world's richest creditors."
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