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World Bank steps
up AIDS program

World Bank steps
up AIDS program

The World Bank has announced a strategic plan to help poor- and middle-income nations fight the AIDS epidemic by strengthening no-interest loans, grants, analysis, technical support, and AIDS policy advice for affected countries.

National strategic plans that "are for the most part not well-devised with clear priorities" are hampering the global AIDS fight, said bank president Paul Wolfowitz. Falling short in prevention, treatment, and care, he said, the plans are "nowhere near equal to slowing down, or stopping, the virus. Progress continues to be eroded by pitfalls in management and implementation."

The World Bank program will emphasize a "Three Ones" approach: one national AIDS authority in each country; one national strategic plan; and one system to monitor and assess efficacy.

"At the heart of our strategy is an urgency to prevent new infections and to provide care and treatment for those who are infected and affected by the epidemic," said Debrework Zewdie, director of the bank's AIDS program.

Since 1988 the bank has spent more than $2.5 billion fighting AIDS. A decade ago it was spending $10 million a year in sub-Saharan Africa. For each of the past four years that figure was $250 million to $300 million. (AP)

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