World Bank Approves $8M Grant To Combat HIV/AIDS in Central America
The World Bank on Tuesday announced that it has approved an $8 million grant to combat HIV/AIDS in the Central American nations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, the State Department's Washington File reports. The grant aims to support the region's ability to address the pandemic through "critical actions ... beyond the capability of individual countries," including increasing access to antiretroviral drugs, laboratory tests, medical supplies, and HIV testing, counseling and treatment, according to Washington File. The grant also will establish a regional laboratory to conduct specialized testing for HIV and opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis. The lab also will serve as a quality-control and training center for the region. In addition, the funds will be used to develop an epidemiological surveillance system to collect and distribute HIV/AIDS information in the region based on surveys involving at-risk groups, including commercial sex workers, mobile populations and several ethnic groups (Green, Washington File, 3/30). "HIV/AIDS is an increasingly critical health issue in Central America, which if unchecked has the potential to erode human welfare, socio-economic progress, productivity and social cohesion," Jane Armitage, World Bank country director for Central America, said, adding, "This project builds on the strengths of regional cooperation in Central America on health issues by improving access to and equity of services for vulnerable groups" (World Bank release, 3/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.