World Bank triples funds for healthcare amid crisis

on April 27 2009 5:12 PM

The World Bank is set to triple healthcare spending in developing
countries to $3.1 billion this year amid signs governments are cutting
funding in the midst of a global economic crisis.

A new World Bank report said it would increase its healthcare
funding from $1 billion last year, with evidence already that some
governments are facing difficulties in affording HIV/AIDS drug

Preliminary findings from a March 2009 World Bank survey in 69
countries, which offer treatment to 3.4 million people on
anti-retroviral treatment, shows that eight countries now face
shortages of anti-retroviral drugs or other disruptions to AIDS

Some 22 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia,
and Asia and Pacific are likely to have difficulties in providing
anti-retroviral drugs over the course of the year.

HIV/AIDS prevention programs are also in jeopardy, with some 34
countries, representing 75 percent of people living with HIV, feeling
an impact on prevention programs that target high-risk groups,
including sex workers and drug users.

The World Bank also said it was doubling financing for health education this year to $4.09 billion.

The Bank's announcement comes amid an outbreak of a deadly swine flu in Mexico and the United States, which on top of a recession could be devastating to developing economies.

The World Bank this week said it was boosting investment in
countries' social protection programs to $12 billion for 2009-10,
including for so-called targeted assistance that offers poor families
cash in return for sending kids to school and to mothers who take their
children for regular checkups.

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