MALAWI AIDS WAR BOOST

BLANTYRE - Malawi has received a grant of about R223,8million from the World Bank to prevent HIV infections and to accelerate the roll-out of free drugs, the lender said yesterday.

BLANTYRE - Malawi has received a grant of about R223,8million from the World Bank to prevent HIV infections and to accelerate the roll-out of free drugs, the lender said yesterday.

The bank's director to Malawi, Tim Gilbo, said the funds would be used to "increase access to prevention, treatment and mitigation with a focus on behavioural change".

About 250000 Malawians now receive free anti-retroviral drugs, while 300 cases of HIV occur every day, resulting in 90000 new annual infections, according to official figures.

"A lot still needs to be done with the aim of slowing infection and bringing down the prevalence rate of HIV in Malawi," Gilbo said.

The prevalence rate in Malawi hovers around 14 percent of the 13million citizens.

Southern Africa suffers most of the world's HIV cases, and needs to review its intervention programmes, Gilbo said.

The country needs "to identify and promote those programmes that are working and to drop or redesign those that are not bearing fruit".

A programme offering free Aids drugs was launched several years ago, initially to 5000 people, to curb the disease that kills 85000 Malawians a year. - Sapa-AFP

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