Aids kills Zim child every 15 minutes’

AIDS kills a Zimbabwean child every 15 minutes and global donors should open their purses to fight the epidemic with the same intensity they have fought for democracy, Unicef said yesterday.



rial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Carol Bellamy, on her last trip to Africa as executive director of the UN Children’s Fund, told a news conference that Zimbabwe received only a fraction of funding compared to other countries in the region despite suffering one of the world’s highest rates of HIV/Aids and a surge in child mortality.


“The world must differentiate between the politics and people of Zimbabwe,” Bellamy said.


“The global generosity towards tsunami victims was inspiring, but it has dried up for Zimbabwean children who are facing a deadly crisis every day of their lives.”


Zimbabwe has faced economic and political problems over the past five years sparked by President Mugabe’s campaign to redistribute white-owned farms to landless blacks. The country will hold its parliamentary election on March 31. The Unicef figures are chilling.


“The under-five mortality rate has risen 50% since 1990 (now one death in every eight births) … one in five Zimbabwean children are now orphans; a child dies every 15 minutes due to HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe; and 160 000 children will experience the death of a parent in 2005,” Unicef said in a statement.


Unicef said that in 2004 to this year, Zimbabwe received no HIV/Aids funding support from key global donors in the region, including the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids relief and the World Bank’s Multi-Country HIV/Aids Programme for Africa.


It also received limited funding from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.


The average annual donor spending per HIV-infected person in southern Africa from the three agencies stood at US$74 but that figure shrunk to just $4 for Zimbabwe, Unicef said. — Reuter.