Obama pledged to increase Pepfar spending by $1b a year, but in his first budget, called for only $165m in new funds By KEVIN J. KELLEY (email the author) Top of Form Send Cancel Bottom of Form Posted Monday, December 14 2009 at 00:00 In Summary · Close to 300,000 Kenyans, 197,000 Tanzanians and 175,000 Ugandans were receiving anti-viral drugs as of September 30. · The programme helps support care for 10 million Africans who have contracted Aids. · Aids-related death rates in Kenya have dropped by 29 per cent since 2002, while the overall Aids mortality rate for sub-Saharan Africa has fallen 18 per cent since 2004. · Over the past five years, an average of 500,000 people with Aids were added to the treatment roster each year · By 2014, according to this new plan, about 4 million people worldwide will be receiving anti-viral drugs through Pepfar. · The overall Aids mortality rate for sub-Saharan Africa has fallen 18 per cent since 2004 Activists are expressing disappointment with President Barack Obamas plans for the Aids treatment programme in Africa, charging that he has fallen short of the achievements of his predecessor, George W. Bush. President Obama has all but failed to fulfil his commitments to wage an aggressive battle against global Aids, a coalition of Aids-focused groups declared last week, assigning him a grade of D+ for his performance to date. Gregg Gonsalves, a leading US anti-Aids campaigner, warned an audience in New York last week, I am about to say something shocking: I miss George W Bush. In many respects, Gonsalves continued, Bush was a terrible president, but he was exceptional in one. The Presidents Emergency Programme for Aids Relief (Pepfar), despite its flaws, saved millions of lives around the world. Obama, by contrast, is not providing the resources needed to sustain the rate of growth in the number of HIV-positive Africans who receive ant-viral treatments through Pepfar. That trend prompted Dr Peter Mugyenyi, director of a Uganda Aids clinic, to express fear that the carnage of Aids will once again surge and the obvious success we have seen of Pepfar may begin to be reversed. Since its inception in 2004, Pepfar has provided anti-viral treatments to nearly 2.5 million people with Aids. The programme targets 15 poor countries, 12 of them in black Africa. Kenya ranks as the single-biggest beneficiary of this aspect of Pepfar, with close to 300,000 Kenyans receiving anti-viral drugs as of September 30. Nigeria has the worlds second-highest number of Pepfar treatment recipients: 286,000. Some 197,000 Tanzanians are getting anti-viral medications through the programme, as are 175,000 Ugandans. Travellers The programme also helps support care for 10 million Africans who have contracted Aids. Aids activists such as Gonzales acknowledge that Pepfar has been enormously beneficial, and they also salute Obamas decision to end a ban on entry to the United States by HIV-positive travellers. Due in part to Pepfar, Aids-related death rates in Kenya have dropped by 29 per cent since 2002, while the overall Aids mortality rate for sub-Saharan Africa has fallen 18 per cent since 2004. A $19 billion US funding commitment for Pepfar over the past five years enabled an average of 500,000 people with Aids to be added to the treatment roster each year.