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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: UNFPA provides US $5.5 million for reproductive health

The United Nations Population Fund has agreed to finance the Central African Republic's (CAR) US $5.5-million project on family welfare and reproductive health.

In a departure from past practice, the money would be disbursed directly to women's NGOs rather than to the government, the agency's official in charge of programmes concerning population and development, Adam Ahmat, told PlusNews on Thursday.

Under the agreement, signed on Wednesday in the CAR capital, Bangui, doctors to be sent by the agency to urban and rural hospitals will try to prevent mother-to-child HIV infection. The agency will also provide counselling. Ahmat noted that at least 14 percent of pregnant women in the country were HIV-positive.

In addition, the agency will carry out anti-AIDS campaigns directed at the youth. This will be done through appropriate programmes in primary schools and seminars for adults. The UN will support projects aimed at promoting gender equality, including efforts to eradicate harmful practices such as female circumcision.

"There are many barren women in eastern CAR due to excision," Ahmat said.

Almost all girls in the country are circumcised, because they cannot get husbands without having undergone this operation.

In other aid to the country, Ahmat said, the UN agency would contribute $500,000 towards the population census of 2003 and towards a $2.7-million housing programme.

Theme (s): Children,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Other OCHA Sites
United Nations - OCHA
DFID - UK Department for International Development
Irish Aid
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation - SDC