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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

    


   

World Bank Says AIDS Worst Economic Evil - Private Sector Responds To The Epidemic

 

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,date:06-04-2003~menuPK:34461~pagePK:34392~piPK:34427~theSitePK:4607,00.html#Story3

 

 

 

The World Bank has described HIV/AIDS as the single largest evil and challenge to economic development in Malawi and the rest of Africa, the Daily Times (Blantyre, Malawi) reports. The bank says AIDS was a major challenge because it continues to kill the same productive sector that was desperately needed to resuscitate fragile economies of the continent.

"The irony of AIDS is that it is striking the middle age group which constitutes the majority of the productive workforce. This is bringing a lot of pressure to economies at national and household level," said World Bank Senior operations officer (Malawi) Christine Kimes on Friday in Blantyre.

She was speaking in an interview with Daily Times on the sidelines of the launch of Malawi Business Coalition Against AIDS, a private sector initiative to fight the epidemic at industry level. Kimes said the bank was encouraged with stakeholders' response to fight the pandemic, which was “moving too fast” to sweep across the continent leaving economies devastated in its wake.

She said the Malawi private sector coalition would benefit from about $35 million that the World Bank would release to the Malawi National AIDS Commission (NAC). She disclosed that the bank had released at least $1.5 billion to fight AIDS worldwide, the bulk of which she said has been allocated to Africa where 18 countries are implementing various programs. Kimes said the bank's funds on AIDS were complimentary to the Global Fund, and others under the UN system such as WHO, UNAIDS and others such as the UK Department for International Development.

  


 

Minister for HIV/AIDS Management Mary Kaphwereza-Banda said the government’s deliberate decision to create her ministry stemmed from the wake up call of the toll AIDS was having on the economy. She said that while formal research on the impact of AIDS on private sector industry had yet to be done, one did not have to be an economist to realize that the disease is wrecking havoc on the economy. "The cost of this pandemic is obviously very high to the nation. There's visible loss of skilled personnel accompanied by premature payments of pensions, cost of funerals and absenteeism,” she said.

In related news, M2Presswire reports that the World Bank yesterday approved a $12 million IDA grant to support the Government of Djibouti in setting up and implementing a response against HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, malaria and tuberculosis. The project will support the implementation of Djibouti's HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan, the National Malaria Strategic Plan, and the National Tuberculosis Strategic Plan through a wide variety of public sector agencies, private and non-governmental organizations, and community-based organizations.

Finally, South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel alerted on Monday that new funds pledged by rich countries to fight the continent’s AIDS scourge must not go straight into the coffers of Western drug companies.  “The money must actually land on the continent. The bulk of the $15 billion…proposed by President Bush will land in the pockets of US pharmaceutical companies”, he said, Reuters reports.