HIV Aids prevention program in Merauke constrained by lack of budget

Merauke District KPA Secretary, Damario Sriyono - JUBI/Emanuel Riberu

Merauke, Jubi – The AIDS Commission (KPA) of Merauke Regency in South Papua cannot carry out more intense programs for HIV/AIDS prevention because the budget allocation from the local government for the commission is very limited.

KPA Merauke Secretary Damario Sriyono told Jubi on Thursday, March 30, 2023, that the budget given to them from the local government this year was Rp 200 million. In the previous year, the budget allocated by the Merauke Government amounted to Rp 300 million.

“Our current budget is only enough for office operations. It is still very far from what is expected. We are grateful there are still independent organizations working in Merauke such as the Pelangi Maluku Foundation and PKBI Papua. With them, we build partnerships,” said Sriyono.

“With such funds, it is impossible for us to make programs as expected. In 2011, the budget was smaller, but in those years there were still many donors working on HIV-AIDS issues. While this year there are no donors. So we still need to work hard again,” he added.

Questioning the government’s attention to the handling of HIV/AIDS, Sriyono said KPA still needed the attention of local governments in preventing and overcoming the disease, especially given that HIV cases in Merauke Regency still exist, and in the past year, new cases that have emerged were around 100 cases.

“After the donors in Merauke stopped, we thought we were ready to work alone because the system was good. But now the reality is, there is a lack of budget. Some NGOs, such as Yasanto did not get HIV budget allocations at all. Therefore the programs are not running well,” he said.

Sriyono added that statistically, HIV/AIDS  cases in Merauke have not increased significantly. It is just that the average number of cases each year ranges around 100. Last year, there were 130 new cases that emerged.

“You wouldn’t say it’s increasing, rather, it’s sloping. For the beginning of 2023, there have indeed been cases, I just don’t remember the exact numbers,” he concluded. (*)

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