Zambia's President Mwanawasa Seeks $19 Million to Fight AIDS
April 19, 2002
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said recently that his government requested $19 million from the UN Global Fund for AIDS to purchase drug cocktails for people who have the disease. "We have requested $19,658,000 from the Global Fund for AIDS. This will enable us to provide cheaper drugs to people with AIDS," Mwanawasa said on Zambian television during a state of the nation address to mark his 100 days in office. Mwanawasa said a pilot project to provide drugs to Zambians too poor to afford them would be started at two major hospitals in the capital Lusaka and the copperbelt city of Ndola.Adapted from:
"My government will soon initiate a project to provide drugs on a pilot basis in Lusaka and Ndola. This will later spread to the rest of the country," Mwanawasa said, adding Zambia was still negotiating with pharmaceutical firms on prices.
AIDS has killed 650,000 Zambians in this country of 11 million since it was first recorded 18 years ago. It has also orphaned 800,000 children, according to official figures. In November, Zambia failed to agree to a $50 million AIDS package with the World Bank. One of the preconditions for Zambia to access the World Bank loan is that it must have a legal framework within which it can tackle the disease.
Private Zambian drug stores import the AIDS cocktails, which cost anywhere between $600 and $2,000 a month. Parliament adjourned last November without debating a draft law to criminalize the deliberate spread of HIV/AIDS. Mwanawasa said a draft bill would be presented to parliament to enable legislators to debate and agree on measures to tackle AIDS. Mwanawasa said AIDS was the biggest challenge to development in this southern African country.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.