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JOHANNESBURG, 26 July 2001 (PlusNews) - CONTENTS: NIGERIA: World Bank donates US $90 million to fight HIV/AIDS NIGERIA: Canadian Aid for anti-AIDS drive AFRICA: Education in Africa threatened by AIDS NIGERIA: World Bank donates US $90 million to fight HIV/AIDS The World Bank has donated US $90.1 million to Nigeria to enable the three tiers of government to embark on an aggressive campaign to control the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. The donation followed the government’s announcement that it was looking to place 10,000 HIV/AIDS adult patients and 5,000 children on antiretroviral drugs, reported the newspaper ‘This Day’ on Wednesday. The Minister of Health Alphonsus Nwosu made the announcement on Tuesday at a meeting of the heads of international agencies in the Nigerian health care sector. Nwosu explained that the donation would be pumped into an action plan by the three tiers of government to contain the spread of the HIvirus. He said that the government was committed to eradicating child and maternal morbidity, malaria and other preventable diseases in the country. He added that the government had decided to abandon referral hospitals located countrywide but would focus on the building of 200 health centres which would be completed by the end of this year. Nwosu told representatives that centres catering for the provision of antiretroviral drugs would be fully functional and beneficiaries would be chosen from different parts of the country. He advised those with HIV /AIDS not to feel shy but to speak out about it. “We want to help them live with the HIV. We are working to remove the stigma people have on those with HIV,” he was quoted as saying. NIGERIA: Canadian aid for anti-AIDS drive Nigeria’s drive to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and enhance virile reproductive health is soon to enjoy a US $6.6 million boost from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The contribution is under the Nigerian chapter of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a period of two years. The money will be spent on specific projects such as support for mother-to-child-transmission and strengthening contraceptive supply, ‘The Guardian’ reported on Wednesday. UNFPA representative in Nigeria Daniella Landry, said that “CIDA was impressed by the current intervention style to make a demonstrable impact on the lives of Nigerians.” However, Health Minister Alphonsus Nwosu challenged all international development partners “to help the country revert the low scores awarded to Nigeria at the weekend by WHO on its health performances.” Among 191 countries worldwide, Nigeria was placed 187 in the WHO rating in its 2000-2001 report. At a quarterly meeting between the minister and all international donor agencies operating in Nigeria held in Abuja on Tuesday, Nwosu told the organisations that their “mode of operation where individual agencies design their activities independent of others” did not add value to the health sector. AFRICA: Education in Africa threatened by AIDS According to a recent global conference on education, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has had a bigger effect on teaching than any other profession, and could wipe out the profession in Africa within 10 years, AFP reported on Wednesday. “The percentage of teachers who have died or carry the HIV virus is higher than for most professional groups,” said Fred van Leeuwen, secretary general of Education International (EI). The conference was held in Thailand and focused on teaching in the age of globalisation. This year, the conference also sounded the alarm over the effects of HIV/AIDS on the profession. Some 35-40 percent of secondary school teachers in Botswana are infected with the HIV virus, it said, adding that the incidence in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi and Zambia was also disturbingly high. “Because of AIDS, there is a shortage of teachers,” Pitso Mosothoane, representative of the Lesotho Association of Teachers was quoted as saying. News reports said the conference also highlighted concerns that teachers were abusing their position to sexually exploit children under their care, helping to fuel the transmission of the deadly disease. EI said that it intended to make HIV/AIDS prevention an integral part of its education mission. “Even before HIV-AIDS we had a shortage of teachers, but the pandemic has aggravated it,” Japhta Radibe, representative of the Botswana Teachers Union was quoted as saying.

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