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The World Bank said on Wednesday it was suspending a $60 million programme to reduce rampant tuberculosis and AIDS in Ukraine because it had proved ineffective and the money had not been properly distributed, Reuters reported.
"So far, after three years of implementation, only two percent of the $60 million available under the project has been disbursed," a World Bank statement said. Paul Bermingham, director for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, was quoted as saying the Bank had acted "because the project has failed to make any significant impact on the growing threat of TB and HIV/AIDS in Ukraine and the neighbouring countries".
Post-Soviet Ukraine is afflicted with one of the fastest growing rates of AIDS and infections of the HIV virus -- more than 1 percent of the adult population has been infected. Tuberculosis remains a major problem, particularly in prisons. The project targeted high-risk groups such as intravenous drug users, sex workers and inmates. The World Bank left open the possibility of the programme's resumption. "The World Bank remains committed to supporting Ukraine's efforts to prevent transmission and provide treatment for TB and HIV/AIDS," the statement said.
"It hopes to discuss restructuring of the project and get the government's agreement to implement it effectively and rapidly."