World Bank Funding for HIV/AIDS Up; Bank To Remain Major Financier of Efforts, Report Says
Resources to fight HIV/AIDS around the world have increased rapidly in recent years, from $300 million in 1996 to $8 billion this year, according to a World Bank report released on Wednesday at the 14th International Conference on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa in Abuja, Nigeria, Xinhuanet reports. The report, titled "The World Bank's Global HIV/AIDS Program of Action," says funding for HIV/AIDS efforts in Africa has increased from an average of $10 million annually a decade ago to more than $250 million annually over the last four years. The report said the bank has demonstrated its ability to institute AIDS programs in post-conflict countries, often more quickly than other financing systems, and also has the capability to lend money to middle-income International Bank for Reconstruction and Development countries that are "ineligible for other sources of financing." The report also says that "[s]ome of the bank's early work [targeting HIV/AIDS] produced important and lasting results, but the failure to make HIV a priority kept those results from evoking or informing a broader institutional response." Many other public organizations were also "slow" in reacting to the pandemic, but that "as a leader in development, the bank bore a special responsibility which it failed to fulfill," according to the report. In addition, the report lays out the World Bank's future role in the HIV/AIDS pandemic, predicting that it would remain a "major financier of AIDS activity globally," including programs in many of the lowest income International Development Association countries, particularly in central and West Africa. The bank's role likely will become increasingly flexible in regard to the range of countries and activities it will finance, according to the report. "The ability to fund regional program enables the bank to support HIV/AIDS efforts in countries that are ineligible for national assistance and for cross-border activities," the report said, adding, "Predictable, multiyear bank funding can help countries ensure sustainability of their HIV/AIDS programs" (Xinhuanet, 12/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.