Zambia Needs $270 Million To Fight AIDS, Finance Minister Says
Zambia will need to spend at least $270 million over the next three years to fight the spread of HIV, Finance Minister Emmanuel Kasonde announced yesterday as part of the nation's three-year development plan, Reuters reports. "HIV/AIDS has become one of the major causes of illness and death among the young and middle-aged adults, depriving households and society of critical human resource base," Kasonde said, adding that the funds, which should come from both local and foreign donors, are needed to provide free antiretroviral drugs to all HIV-positive people in Zambia and to expand existing national HIV/AIDS programs. Kasonde earlier this year estimated that Zambia needed $560 million per year -- approximately half of the nation's annual budget -- to fight HIV/AIDS, and financial analysts said that Kasonde's "more conservative" figure might be a "more realistic assessment of the country's fundraising ability," according to Reuters. Approximately 650,000 Zambians have died of AIDS-related causes over the past 18 years, and most of Zambia's 11 million residents live "well below" the World Bank poverty line, making it impossible for them to pay $200 to $1,000 per month for antiretroviral drugs (Reuters, 12/9). The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved nearly $93 million for efforts in the country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/5). In addition, UNICEF announced in October that it would spend $9 million over the next five years on the nation's HIV/AIDS crisis (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/31).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.