Guyana HIV/AIDS spending in 2016 was 150% higher than previous year

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Guyana’s spending on HIV/AIDS in 2016 was 150% higher than in the preceding year.

This was disclosed in a statement on Friday by the Ministry of Public Health.

The statement came at Friday’s multipartite National Health Accounts (NHA) Dissemination Meeting held in Georgetown.

According to the ministry statement, Julia Henn, Director, Health and HIV/AIDS Office, USAID/Eastern and Southern Caribbean, lauding the Guyana government’s commitment to combating the HIV virus, said the expenditure rise was simply “mind-boggling”.

A document circulated at Friday’s meeting said. “It is critical for the country to develop a credible long-term financing scenario that includes efforts to diversify funding sources and optimise resource utilization”.

The data disclosed at the forum held at Cara Lodge, revealed that State spending for  HIV/AIDS amounts to 62 percent, funding from the country’s international partners, 35 percent, and donations from “other sources” listed at 3 percent.

When she addressed the forum, the ministry statement said that Dr Karen Cummings, Minister within the Public Health Ministry, said “Guyana’s Health Accounts will play a pivotal role in national health care policy. It will also serve as a base from which sub-accounts of expenditures useful to decision-makers can be crafted. Our health accounts will serve as a base from which projections of health expenditures can be modelled.”

After 17 years of trying, the statement said that Guyana finally joined Mexico and Nicaragua, pioneering states in the Health Accounts field, and several Caribbean countries to utilise the NHA strategy, Karen Yaw, MOPH Director of Planning recalled in her overview.

Nevertheless, Guyana is “off to a great start,” Tesfaye Dereje of the USAID project told participants. Guyana’s NHA is founded on three planks: revenue raising, managing resources and purchasing of services.

According to the circulated document, Guyana is “undergoing an epidemiological transition from communicable… to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and for some time it will continue to face this double burden of disease”.

As part of its recommendations, those who worked on the NHA initiative recommended the country allocate more money to disease prevention since figures show that only 19 percent of the total health expenditure focused on this critical area.

The team in one of its five recommendations cited a bigger role in healthcare for the country’s private sector which contributes a mere 13 percent of total health expenditures (THE), with 9 percent coming from households and 4 percent from the companies.

“The private sector spending is relatively low in comparison with that of other countries with similar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita,” the recommendation said.  

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