Ukraine Wants To Restart Suspended AIDS Programme

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine wants to restart a $60 million World Bank programme to fight tuberculosis and AIDS suspended by the global lender because the money was misused, Health Minister Yuri Polyachenko said on Friday.

Polyachenko acknowledged the problem but said the programme was crucial for fighting the growing threat of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS and a deal to revive it could be reached within a month.

"Unfortunately these funds have not been used for the most urgent needs," Polyachenko told reporters. "They went to buy office furniture, cars and computers."

"At the latest meeting with the World Bank leadership, we agreed that we will review the purchases portfolio. If there is an agreement we will resume the project," he added.

The World Bank said earlier this week it was suspending the loan because it had proved ineffective and the money had not been properly distributed. Only two percent of the $60 million available had been disbursed in three years, the bank said.

Ukraine, a country of 47 million people on the border with the European Union, has one of the fastest growing rates of AIDS and HIV in Europe. More than 1 percent of the adult population is infected.

Tuberculosis is a major problem, particularly in prisons.

Source: Reuters