You will no doubt be aware in the recent Federal Budget there were deep and broad cuts to Australia’s overseas development aid of some 20% with further sizeable reductions planned.
These cuts have significantly impacted on ASHM International and our regional partners’ capacity to continue our program of work.
Since 2003, ASHM International has been working in the region to prevent HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs, and to protect the health of those living with these infections. The International Division supports knowledge and expertise exchange between health professionals in Australia and New Zealand with colleagues in other countries through capacity building initiatives such as clinical mentoring, developing clinical guidelines, and delivering training programs. These enable improved care, treatment and support for people living with and affected by HIV in around ten countries in the Asia-Pacific region; most recently in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Pacific through the DFAT Regional HIV Capacity Building Program.
This flagship regional HIV program has been defunded at a critical junction in the HIV response –while there have been significant gains in treatment access and reductions in new infections across the region, there are alarming trends in rapidly increasing epidemics in other countries for example, the Philippines. As more people access treatment there is a corresponding need to ensure that often fragile health care systems are strengthened to maintain high quality and effective delivery of care.
Please prioritise ASHM’s international work in your end of year financial planning and consider making a tax deductible gift through the International Gift Fund. ASHM International must raise $500,000 per annum to ensure our continued support of these critical programmes and your contribution will help us to achieve our goals. To keep you updated on the progress of our work we will provide you with a quarterly bulletin with accounts from those whose lives have been impacted though our work and from clinical staff working in often challenging environments.
(Image: SPC/Sitthixay Ditthavong)