World Bank Approves $60 Million Loan to Ukraine for AIDS and Tuberculosis Programs
The World Bank announced Friday it has approved a $60 million loan to Ukraine to help create a "comprehensive" HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and epidemic control program, the Associated Press reports. The World Bank loan is contingent upon ratification by the Ukrainian parliament of an agreement to earmark $17 million in Ukrainian funds for the program (Associated Press, 12/20). The European Union on Thursday also pledged its support by announcing approximately $2 million loan to fight tuberculosis; the number of people with TB has increased 73% since 1991 (Agence France-Presse, 12/20). The "degradation of [Ukraine's] cash-strapped state-run health care system" has led to a "swift rise" in the number of AIDS and TB cases, the Associate Press reports. The country has registered 50,000 HIV cases, but officials estimate that the true number could be 10 times higher. Some international AIDS experts estimate that the number of people with HIV in Ukraine could reach more than 1.4 million by 2010 (Associated Press, 12/20). "This is a good time for the government to implement this project because there is a window of opportunity to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, since the epidemic is still contained within high-risk groups, such as injecting drug users and commercial sex workers," Jean De St Antoine, World Bank task manager for the project, said (World Bank release, 12/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.