Zambian and World Bank Officials Fail to Agree on $42M Loan to Fight HIV/AIDS
Zambian officials have failed to reach an agreement with the World Bank for a $42 million loan package to fight HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports. At the invitation of Vice President Enock Kavindele and Finance Minister Katele Kalumba, World Bank officials visited Zambia in October to work on the deal. However, no agreement was reached because the World Bank mission was unable to meet with health and finance ministry representatives. The package included $6 million earmarked specifically to supply
antiretroviral drugs, which would have been a "huge boost," as workers in the country are paid an average of $75 a month and the cost of AIDS medicines averages $60 a month. A health ministry official said that "haggling" among government departments over responsibility for drug procurement could have also delayed negotiations. Under the loan agreement, the Zambian parliament would have had to enact a law criminalizing the "deliberate transmission" of HIV and establish a national AIDS council. Kavindele said he was unaware that the World Bank mission was unable to meet with the necessary personnel, but said the government "remain[s] keen" on the deal. However, because the deal requires the passage of certain laws, it will be impossible to meet all of the requirements in the near future, as parliament has adjourned pending elections on Dec. 27. A Western ambassador familiar with the negotiations said that it is unlikely that the loan will be taken up again until the first quarter of next year, after the new government "has found its feet." One in five Zambian adults is HIV-positive (Reuters, 12/3).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.