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ETHIOPIA: Anti-AIDS taskforce criticised

Ethiopia's anti-AIDS taskforce came under fire on Wednesday for failing to fund projects aimed at tackling the virus – despite a three-year US $59 million loan from the World Bank.

Dr Yigeremu Abebe, a member of the executive committee of the taskforce, told IRIN the bank loan should have been ploughed into anti-AIDS projects.

However, the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat has spent just one fifth of the funds in the last two years despite the pandemic sweeping the Horn of Africa country.

And fears are now mounting that if the taskforce does not spend the money, it will not be able to access a US $500 million anti-AIDS grant to Africa by the World Bank.

"It is surprising that only 20 percent of the money has been spent given the scale of the problem in the country," Dr Yigeremu told PlusNews.

The doctor, who operates at the Armed Forces Hospital in Addis Ababa, said bureaucracy, a lack of commitment and poor experience were to blame.

Ethiopia is one of the countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 3.5 million people infected with the virus. It also has around a million AIDS orphans.

Yigeremu's criticism follows a scathing report by the World Bank which called for fundamental changes to the Secretariat.

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[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