World Bank Provides Barbados With First-Ever Loan to Support Treatment Efforts
The World Bank announced on Monday that it will give Barbados a $15 million loan over five years to provide treatment to individuals with HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports. The loan marks a departure for the bank, which has previously only awarded loans for health infrastructure improvements, coordination efforts and HIV/AIDS awareness programs. Orsalia Kalantzopoulos, the World Bank's country director, cited Barbados' "political and economic stability" as the reasons for the exception. She added, "When you look at Barbados, the way the country's being managed, you could really go ... in some areas we had never done before, which was treatment." The loan, which will be used to supplement the $50 million already pledged to HIV/AIDS efforts over the next five years by Barbados' government, will go toward the purchase of antiretroviral drugs. "We are resolute in our conviction that expenditure on this program, on the scale required and on the scale envisioned, represents a necessary investment in human capital upon which the strengths of our future economic and social progress must fundamentally depend. It was therefore against this background that my government considered it imperative to seek financial assistance," Prime Minister Owen Arthur explained on Monday. Barbados has recorded 2,448 cases of HIV since 1984, and an estimated 1,060 people in the nation of 300,000 have died of AIDS-related causes. The Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba, has the second-highest HIV infection rate in the world after sub-Saharan Africa (Reuters, 2/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.