VANCOUVER—The BC Health Coalition is staging a Friday rally to demand full restoration of funding to HIV/AIDS support services and programs that are facing devastating budget cuts as a result of the Health Ministry’s plan to balance a $90 million deficit in Vancouver Coastal Health’s operating budget.
The future of Community Based Health Organizations (CBHOs), which provide direct HIV/AIDS support services and programs in the Lower Mainland, is in jeopardy. These independent, non-profit CBHOs assume responsibility for fundamental HIV/AIDS services, programs and public education not offered by any government health agency. These organizations help people get off the streets, prevent hospital admissions, and keep people alive. They are already grossly underfunded for the work that they do.
But the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has begun rolling out cuts to CBHO’s administration budgets, effective December 1, 2009 and April 1, 2010, with further cuts to come later in 2010. These so-called “administrative” cuts will have a detrimental impact on program delivery, and come even though B.C. has a disproportionate number of people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Health Coalition is urging CUPE members to send an e-mail to Premier Gordon Campbell and their MLA, demanding that these funds be reinstated immediately so that community AIDS Services can go back to what they do best: providing support, education and harm reduction in the community. To send an e-mail, visit: http://cancelthecuts.org/letter
The rally will take place at the North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 18.