World Bank Considers $60 Million Loan to Ukraine to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis
The World Bank announced on Friday that it is considering extending a $60 million loan to Ukraine to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the country, Reuters reports. World Bank resident representative Gregory Jedrzejczak said that the funds could be available by the second half of this year and added that the project "has a very good chance of being successfully implemented." The project would concentrate on modernizing hospitals, improving monitoring and surveillance of both diseases and monitoring the spread of TB in prisons, which Ukrainian officials called "hot spot[s]" for the disease. Ukraine has the "fastest-growing" HIV/AIDS rate in Europe, with about 1% of the adult population estimated to be infected. Officials estimate that the percentage could reach 6% by the end of the decade if further prevention efforts are not undertaken. Meanwhile, the number of TB cases has nearly doubled over the last 10 years, increasing from 32 per 100,000 people in 1990 to 70 per 100,000 this year. Observers attribute the rise in TB and the spread of HIV to the "sharp fall in living standards and collapse of the health care system" that accompanied secession from the Soviet Union in 1991. The average monthly Ukrainian income is about $40, placing TB and AIDS drugs "beyond the means" of most people, and although the government has "pledged to use all available resources to fight the diseases," it cannot afford to do so (Horodetska, Reuters, 2/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.