Families of HIV-Positive Libyan Children Ask for $5.3B Fund
Families of about 400 HIV-positive Libyan children, who allegedly were infected with the virus by five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician, on Saturday asked for $5.3 billion to be paid through a fund launched to support the children, Reuters reports (Sarrar, Reuters, 1/21). The six health workers were sentenced to death by firing squad in May 2004 for allegedly infecting the children through contaminated blood products. Libyan Supreme Court President Ali al-Alus on Dec. 25, 2005, overturned the convictions two days after Bulgaria, Libya, the U.S. and the European Union agreed to establish a fund to support the children. The agreement did not mention the accused health workers, and Bulgarian officials said that the fund is part of an international effort to find an end to the situation. According to Ivan Chomakov, the fund's Bulgarian representative, the fund has secured between $309,000 and $370,800 to date (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/20). The families on Saturday asked for $12 million for each child and medical consultations in Libya and abroad, Idriss Lagha, chair of the Association of the Families of the HIV-Infected Children, said (Aljazeera.net, 1/22). Although Lagha called the families' request "a fair deal," he said his group will negotiate (Sinan, AP/ABCNews.com, 1/22). "If we reach an agreement, the fund will then be operational, but if not, it will be considered void," Lagha said (Aljazeera.net, 1/21). It is not clear where resources for the fund would come from, and Maxim Minchev, co-chair of a Bulgarian nongovernmental organization that helped establish the fund, would not comment on whether the $5.3 billion request was realistic (Reuters, 1/21). Talks to determine the fund's capital are scheduled to be held Feb. 13, Lagha said (AFP/Yahoo! News, 1/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.