The World Bank said today that it looks forward to receiving and discussing with the government of Ukraine precise proposals to restructure the suspended Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Control Project, according to a WB press-release forwarded to UNIAN.  “The World Bank re-affirms its commitment to work with the government, civil society organizations, and international partners and donors to achieve the objectives of the project,” said Paul Bermingham, World Bank Director for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.  “We are available to discuss how the recently-suspended project may be restructured and re-launched.  We hope that this can be done quickly.  However, the problems that impeded the project are long-standing and deep-rooted.  In our view, the project, and indeed the national program, will only succeed if there are significant changes from past practice.”

Meanwhile, the World Bank, together with the International HIV Alliance, has prepared a report that suggests that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is worsening in Ukraine, and poses an increased threat to the economic and social well-being of Ukrainians.  A formal launch of the report, which was presented to a regional HIV/AIDS conference in Moscow this week, will take place shortly.  The report finds that HIV/AIDS is a major obstacle to economic growth, affecting households, businesses, and the government.  Since the young and women are hit hardest by the epidemic, Ukraine’s already declining population would shrink even faster in a generalized epidemic.  A worsening epidemic could also lead to reduced labor supply and worker productivity, ballooning health care costs, and decreased public and private savings and investment.  “The results of the report underscore the urgency of putting in place a comprehensive and effective national strategy that attracts the consensus of all stakeholders,” adds Bermingham.