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Pamoja-Together Challenges the International AIDS Society to Address Theft, Fraud and Human Rights Abuses in HIV-AIDS Care at AIDS 2012

August 11, 2011 (Vienna) – Pamoja-Together, an NGO that supports grassroots organizations of people living with HIV-AIDS (PLWHA) who are fighting for human rights and for access to medical treatment and who campaign against theft and fraud and human rights abuses in health care systems especially in Tanzania, has launched a petition demanding that the International AIDS Society (IAS) make transparency and accountability for service delivery to PLWHA the theme of AIDS 2012 in Washington, D.C.

“International efforts against HIV and AIDS have made significant progress in recent years,” reads the petition (available online at http://www.pamoja.at/petition.html), “but that progress is threatened … People are dying because of corruption and criminality in the international fight against AIDS.”

Representatives of Pamoja-Together and its Tanzanian partner NGO, PIUMA (www.piuma-simba.org), met with the then incoming president of the IAS, Dr. Elly Katabira, at AIDS 2010 in Vienna. They were encouraged by the IAS’s reaction to their concerns and their demands for greater accountability.

“Intensive planning for AIDS 2012 is just getting underway,” explains Pamoja- Together president Fabian Wirnsperger. “We need to show the IAS that there is wide support for ensuring that the money that is made available for HIV-AIDS by international donors is accounted for in a transparent manner. Theft, fraud, and human rights abuses in governments, faith-based organizations, NGOs, and international donors involved in the provision of HIV-AIDS care and services go unchallenged and unpunished. We believe that by making ‘Accountability on Delivery’ the theme of AIDS 2012, the IAS can make a major contribution to changing this unacceptable situation.”

Pamoja-Together works with a grassroots HIV+ patient group in Makete District, Tanzania called PIUMA. They have been fighting criminality and human rights abuses in the health care system there for several years. The quality of care being received by PIUMA’s members is shockingly inadequate. The lack of accountability for this injustice extends from local hospital officials all the way up the funding chain, including Tanzanian government departments, faith-based organizations, implementing NGOs, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. A video documenting the experience of PIUMA is available at http://vimeo.com/12000742.

“It is particularly distressing that international funding agencies like the Global Fund and implementing NGOs have refused to report or address examples of theft, intimidation, and other criminality in the provision of HIV-AIDS care and services in Makete District,” says Fabian Wirnsperger of Pamoja-Together. “We believe that these human rights abuses exist in many places, not just Makete District. Only an intense focus on these issues by an organization with the credibility and moral authority of the IAS will end this regrettable situation.”

The petition is available online at http://www.pamoja.at/petition.html.

For more information or for media interviews, contact:

Fabian Wirnsperger
Chair, Pamoja
Email: office(at)pamoja.at
Skype: pamojatogether
Cell: +43 650 533 88 27

Jackson Mbogela
Member, PIUMA Advisory Committee
E-mail: mbogela(at)yahoo.com
Skype: jackson.mbogela Cell: +255 787 41 03 15

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