Ukraine Hopes To Resume HIV/AIDS, TB Project Suspended by World Bank, Health Minister Says
Ukraine hopes to resume a program funded by a $60 million grant from the World Bank aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the country, Health Minister Yuri Polyachenko said on Friday, Reuters reports (Reuters, 4/14). The bank last week announced that it is suspending the project because of the government's failure to launch the program and distribute funds. The government to date has spent 2% of the $60 million allocated in January 2004 to be dispersed over a four-year period, according to Anna Honcharyuk, a spokesperson for the bank's Ukraine office. The program was aimed at providing funds for medicines, training for health care workers and other prevention measures. It was targeted at high-risk groups such as injection drug users, commercial sex workers and prison inmates. The project had an estimated total funding amount of $76.4 million, which included the $60 million grant from the World Bank and $16.4 million allocated in Ukraine's national budget (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/13). Polyachenko said there are problems with the project but added that it is a vital component of the country's fight against TB and HIV/AIDS. He also said that an agreement to restart the project might be reached within one month. "Unfortunately these funds have not been used for the most urgent needs," Polyachenko said, adding, "They went to buy office furniture, cars and computers. At the latest meeting with the World Bank leadership, we agreed that we will review the purchase portfolio. If there is an agreement we will resume the project" (Reuters, 4/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.