Wednesday, April 16, 2008

US to spend more on anti-AIDS campaign in Vietnam than Vietnam does : Health

Hanoi - The United States will increase its most substantial aid programme to Vietnam, the PEPFAR programme for fighting HIV/AIDS, to 88 million dollars for 2008, the US's secretary of health and human services said Wednesday. "The US, because of our friendship, and because of our common desire to control HIV/AIDS, made 17 million US dollars available here in Vietnam to provide treatment" in 2004, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt told a gathering of students at Hanoi's School of Public Health. "Our friendship has gone so well that we have decided we want to increase that amount from 17 million to 88 million."
The US's spending on HIV/AIDS in Vietnam will exceed that of the Vietnamese government's own Ministry of Health, which estimates it will spend 72.5 million dollars on the disease in 2008. The ministry's entire budget for 2008 is estimated at 1.44 billion dollars.
Leavitt said he took seriously the risk that large amounts of American aid might create a "parallel system" for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, leaving Vietnam dependent on the US. To avoid this, he said, much of the US aid is focused on training and building infrastructure for Vietnamese institutions, and is administered by Vietnamese organizations.
Leavitt is visiting Vietnam as part of a tour of Southeast Asian nations, which has already taken him to Singapore. He met Wednesday with Vietnam's ministers of health and agriculture and with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
Leavitt said the main subjects under discussion, besides HIV/AIDS, included detection and prevention of outbreaks of avian influenza, and developing common systems for ensuring product safety in trade between the two countries. The United States is Vietnam's number one export destination, importing 10.6 billion dollars worth of Vietnamese goods last year.
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