30 April 2002

Ethiopia: $7 Million Awarded to Tackle Killer Diseases

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia has been awarded more than US $7 million as part of the Fund to tackle diseases, backed by computer billionaire Bill Gates.

The award is part of a multi-million dollar package announced in New York recently, and which gives a large proportion of the money to African countries.

The money will be used to fight AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria - three of the world's biggest killers. In Africa alone, a total of US $641 million was requested to help fight the diseases under the first grant awards announced by the Fund. Gates, who founded the computer giant Microsoft, has pledged US $100 million to the Fund for AIDS and health.

The Fund was set up in June 2001 after a summit organised by the United Nations, and specifically targets the three killer diseases. They are the cause of almost six million deaths a year - 10 percent of global deaths.

Without the Fund, total expenditures to fight HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria in the developing world would be approximately US $1.6 billion in 2002. But the Fund has helped increase resources by US $700-800 million - effectively increasing global spending on these epidemics by 50 percent in its first year of operation.

Around 58 countries have applied for funding from the Fund, which is an independent, public-private partnership.

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