World Bank, Department for International Development Will Not Finance Condom Purchases in India
The World Bank and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development recently announced that they will not help the Indian government purchase condoms to fight the spread of HIV under the third phase of the country's National AIDS Control Program, which is scheduled to begin in April, because of an alleged lack of transparency in purchasing procedures, the Financial Times reports. According to the Times, the Indian government is purchasing condoms for the five-year, $2.5 billion program from state-owned facilities at a higher cost than if the condoms were purchased from other companies. An unnamed official with an international organization running an HIV program in India said, "Domestic preference is playing a role here that it wouldn't in other countries, leading to a situation where India is paying 30% to 40% more [for condoms] than the world average." The Indian government is expected to contribute $1 billion to the total cost of NACP, $56 million of which will be used on condoms in 2007 to 2008, according to the Times. Sujatha Rao, director general of India's National AIDS Control Organization, said that although donors wanted international bids before purchasing the condoms, the quality of some condoms manufactured outside India is "suspect" and "bound to be disastrous" (Johnson, Financial Times, 3/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.