Bulgarian NGO Donates $594,000 To Help HIV-Positive Libyan Children
The Association for the Promotion of Bilateral Relations with Libya, a Bulgarian nongovernmental organization, has raised roughly $594,000 from private donors to help support HIV-positive children in Libya, Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dimitar Tsanchev said Wednesday, the Bulgarian News Agency reports. The International Fund for Assistance to the Families of the HIV-Infected Children of Benghazi will manage the donations. Tsanchev said the donations are not financial compensation to the families of about 400 HIV-positive Libyan children, who allegedly were infected with the virus by five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician, but rather a humanitarian gesture (Bulgarian News Agency, 2/15). The six health workers accused of infecting the children with HIV were sentenced to death by firing squad in May 2004. 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 the fund. 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. The health workers say they are innocent of the charges, claiming they were forced to confess (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/15). Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin has said that Bulgaria would not give compensation to the families of the HIV-positive children "because the Bulgarian nurses are not guilty" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/17). Bulgaria's contribution to the fund will be "commensurate with that of the other European countries" and will include humanitarian assistance to modernize Al Fateh Children's Hospital in Benghazi; purchase drugs for HIV-positive children in Libya; and provide technical assistance to train medical personnel, Tsanchev said (Bulgarian News Agency, 2/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.