Gates foundation grants $57 million for Africa

Gates foundation grants $57 million for Africa

AIDS projects


©CNN- April 4, 2000-Web posted at: 2:26 PM EDT (1826 GMT)


UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United Nations on Tuesday announced a five-year, $57 million grant from the foundation created by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and his wife to expand national AIDS campaigns in four African countries.


With young people accounting for more than half of the new HIV infections worldwide, the money will go toward efforts to protect people under 25 from the virus in Botswana, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.


"The contribution of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will save the lives of hundreds of thousands of young men and women in Africa," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement.


 The four countries were chosen based on their need and their demonstrated commitment to HIV prevention among young people, said Dr. Nafis Sadik, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund.


She said it was the single largest private donation received by the United Nations to combat HIV among young people, noting that the Turner Foundation has made similar but smaller grants in the past.


 "This grant puts resources where the need is most urgent: protecting the most vulnerable and safeguarding each country's future," Sadik said. "The programs it supports will also serve as models for other hard-hit countries and international aid efforts."  


U.N. statistics show that Botswana has a 25 percent infection rate among people between the ages of 15 and 49. Tanzania and Uganda have an infection rate of about 9 percent and Ghana has a rate of 2.3 percent.


In several African countries, U.N. statistics show that girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are five or six times more likely to be HIV-positive than boys their age -- an indication that adolescent girls in particular need the information and means                   to protect themselves against infection, Sadik said.


The grants will be implemented by two international organizations, the Program  for Appropriate Technology in Health, or PATH, and Pathfinder International.


The projects will vary among the four countries but will all include education programs in rural and urban areas, peer counseling, health services and job training.


Annan and Sadik said the grant would go a long way toward the U.N. General Assembly's stated goal of reducing HIV infections by 25 percent in the next five years.


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