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Gates Foundation Grants $23mn for AIDS programme in India

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Tuesday announced an investment of $23 million over the next three years to enhance the HIV-AIDS prevention and response programmes of// the Indian government.

Health and Family Welfare Secretary Prasanna Hota and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation president Tadataka Yamada signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect here.

"We are yet to work out the details of the MoU. However, this will primarily focus on technical management of our AIDS campaign and this will be shared with the state organisations as well," Hota told reporters after signing the pact.

"The $23 million provided by the Gates Foundation is part of $58 million that has been committed by the foundation towards our AIDS programme, Avahan, that will focus on programme management and technical capacity at the national and state levels," Hota added.

"We understand AIDS awareness is very important for India and we are committed to invest heavily in this country from making new medicines to providing proper health infrastructure," Yamada added.

The foundation also has plans to invest $258 million over the next five years towards its AIDS initiative in India.

The foundation will provide support for training the staff of National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) to enhance their skills in the area of project and financial management.

Avahan was launched by the foundation in 2003 to provide community-driven HIV prevention services to socially vulnerable sections of people.

It currently operates in 76 districts and across 535 towns of India.

Source-IANS
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