With Covid-19 affecting every country, governments around the world have allocated an increase in the funds to fight the virus. With this move, thousands of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in South Africa face the risk of closure if the lack of government funding persists since billions of rand are being dedicated to fighting the pandemic.

More than 220,000 NGOs in the country have, for decades, been supporting the government to treat and manage illnesses and offer psycho-social support to victims, from testing and treatment of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, to offering counselling for depression and shelters for abused victims.

However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, lack of government funding ensures their daily operations have been drastically reduced. The NGOs are complaining as they have received little to no funding since March 2020 and are concerned about the funding cuts which they say would impact the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic.

The Director of the Muslim Aids Programme (MAP), Suraiya Nawab, said, ‘We are best placed as NGOs to go into communities for [Covid-19] to do a screening. For MAP, there are 30 staff members that are out of jobs, and 30 staff members that are well trained to do [Covid-19] testing. There is a big problem with stigma on [Covid-19], very much like HIV. Between the 28 organisations, we have a footprint in the 9 provinces. I’m very disappointed, we could go in and fast track the screening process. They are not getting the awareness about [Covid-19] and the added risk that HIV places’.

Source: Town Press

Photo source: GotCredit

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