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ETHIOPIA: More funds needed to tackle AIDS

Ethiopia needs at least US $166 million a year to fight the HIV/AIDS crisis that is devastating the country, a government official has said.

It also needs food aid for orphans and victims of the virus, Abebe Kebede from the metropolitan HIV/AIDS secretariat, told PlusNews.

"For prevention and care, the minimum cost is estimated at US $166.9 million for Ethiopia," said Abebe. "We don’t have that much," he added. "Unless we get support in terms of food and other items, our capacity cannot sustain the orphans and people living with HIV/AIDS."

The National AIDS Secretariat has come under severe criticism for its handling of the AIDS crisis from the World Bank, which has contributed some US $59.7 million. The bank said it was "seriously concerned" by the failure to improve the capacity of those involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

A team of inspectors from the World Bank argued there were "serious shortcomings" requiring urgent attention to improve implementation of AIDS projects. They also called on the authorities to speed up the implementation of projects.

Around three million Ethiopians are living with HIV/AIDS and 250,000 children under five have contracted the virus from their mothers.


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