Ukraine fights to re-instate loan for HIV/AIDS project.
Ukraine plans to restructure a key HIV/ AIDS and tuberculosis control project to help ensure disbursement of a US$60 million loan recently suspended by the World Bank. Alla Shcherbinska (Ukrainian Centre to Combat HIV/AIDS) told journalists that it will take the government only a few weeks to "reconstruct" the project. However, Shiyan Chao, a senior health economist at the World Bank cautioned that: "resumption of the funds will hinge on the government's concrete actions to improve earlier shortcomings related to policy issues on tuberculosis control, procurement, fiduciary controls, and other important aspects of project management". The World Bank suspended the loan, complaining of poor implementation by the Ukrainian ministry of health. "At the time of suspension, which came after the first 3 years of implementation, only 2% of funds available for this project had been disbursed by the Ukrainian ministry of health", Merrell Tuck, a spokesperson of the Bank said. The Bank says "there is also concern about the government's full commitment to both condom use and harm reduction for injecting drug users [IDUs]". (excerpt)