The World Bank has suspended disbursement of the US $60 million Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Control Project in Ukraine because of lack of progress in implementing the program, according to a WB press-release, forwarded to UNIAN.  So far, after three years of implementation, only two percent of the $60 million available under the project has been disbursed by the government.

“The World Bank is taking this action because the project has failed to make any significant impact on the growing threat of TB and HIV/AIDS in Ukraine and the neighboring countries” said Paul Bermingham, World Bank Director for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.

Ukraine has one of the fastest growing rates of HIV/AIDS infection in Europe with more than 1 percent of the adult population already infected.  The goal of the project is to halt the spread of TB and HIV/AIDS using proven methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.  It focuses mainly on high-risk groups such as intravenous drug users, sex workers, and prisoners.  The high prevalence of both HIV/AIDS and TB in these groups raises the risk that the diseases will spread to the rest of society, as they have in Africa and the Caribbean.

Suspension of disbursements on the loan does not necessarily mean that The World Bank is ending its involvement in this important area.  The World Bank remains committed to supporting Ukraine’s efforts to prevent transmission and provide treatment for TB and HIV/AIDS.  It hopes to discuss restructuring of the project and get the government’s agreement to implement it effectively and rapidly.