World Bank approves US $21 million for health project

ANGOLA: World Bank approves US $21 million for health project


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The HIV epidemic can reduce Angola's GDP by up to one percent per year

JOHANNESBURG, 22 Dec 2004 (PLUSNEWS) - The World Bank has approved a grant of US $21 million to Angola for implementing an HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis (TB) Control Project.

The project aims at reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB through a multisectoral approach that strengthens institutional capacity; increases access to and utilisation of health services; prevents infection and improves treatment and recovery rates.

HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria account for 75 percent of all deaths from infectious diseases in Angola. Malaria is the leading cause of mortality, accounting for 8,756 deaths per year in an average 2.1 million cases of infection in a population of 12.8 million.

Angola emerged from 30 years of war in 2002 with its health system badly damaged and an estimated 65 percent of its primary health centres out of service, a maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 1,300 per 100,000 live births, and an infant mortality rate (IMR) of 195 per 1,000 live births.

"The HIV epidemic is spreading, with prevalence in adults aged 15 to 49 estimated to be 5.5 percent, or 350,000 adults, and some studies in urban prenatal clinics have shown rates close to 10 percent. TB incidence has increased over the past decade, paralleling the HIV/AIDS epidemic," the World Bank said.

These epidemics could have devastating effects on Angola's economy, said the Bank. "Studies have shown that an HIV/AIDS epidemic can reduce GDP [gross domestic product] by up to one percent per year. The effect of malaria has been estimated to be as much as 1.3 percent GDP reduction per year."

"The government has requested World Bank's financial and technical assistance to implement its plan to combat HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, and other health objectives linked to the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals," said Jean Jacques de St Antoine, the World Bank task team leader for the project.

"The government is showing commitment through a number of concrete actions, including ongoing initiatives to monitor and prevent the spread of infectious diseases," he added.

The programme will help coordinate responses from various sectors of society. Assistance will be provided to civil society organisations, communities, NGOs, and faith-based organisations, to ensure the implementation of sub-projects to prevent and mitigate the effects of the three diseases.

[ENDS]


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