International Donors Should Provide More Funding To Fight HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, UNICEF Says
International donors should provide more funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, where a child dies every 15 minutes from AIDS-related causes, UNICEF said in a statement released on Thursday, Reuters reports (Esipisu, Reuters, 3/17). Despite having the fourth-highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate worldwide and the greatest increase in child mortality among all nations, Zimbabwe has received a small percentage of HIV/AIDS funding from major international donors, compared with other countries in Southern Africa, according to London's Guardian (Meldrum, Guardian, 3/18). International donors have been "loath" to increase aid to Zimbabwe because of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's "poor governance record and concern about possible squandering of funds," according to the Financial Times (Reed, Financial Times, 3/17). Overall, donor support for Zimbabwe is "far lower" than for other countries in the region, UNICEF said (UNICEF release, 3/17). The average annual spending per HIV-positive person from the world's three main donor initiatives is $4 in Zimbabwe, compared with $74 in the Southern African region, according to UNICEF (Safieddine, Toronto Star, 3/18).
Speaking in Johannesburg, South Africa, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, said that donors need to "differentiate between the politics and the people of Zimbabwe," according to VOA News (Robertson, VOA News, 3/17). "Look for other ways to make your point," Bellamy said, adding, "Don't take it out on the world's children" (Zavis, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 3/17). "Every day children in Zimbabwe are dying of HIV/AIDS, every day children are becoming infected, orphaned and forced to leave school to care for sick parents. The global generosity toward tsunami victims was inspiring, but it has dried up for Zimbabwean children who are facing a deadly crisis every day of their lives," Bellamy said (UNICEF release, 3/17). However, Zimbabwe has been making progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and child mortality despite its lack of international funding, according to UNICEF (Reuters, 3/17). UNICEF said that progress is being made because of the efforts of the U.K. Department for International Development, the European Commission, and the governments of Norway, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany (UNICEF release, 3/17).