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Zambia to Get Anti-AIDS Drug Boost from Global Fund

Former US president Bill Clinton will visit Zambia this weekend to boost an UN-backed HIV/AIDS drugs programme which is helping treat some 13,250 children, UNITAID said Thursday.

The partnership between the Bill Clinton Foundation and UNITAID, a international drugs funding initiative, has increased the number of children under life-saving treatment in Zambia by about 7,200, an agency spokeswoman said.

With current levels of the disease, youngsters in Zambia face a 50 percent life-time risk of dying of AIDS in the absence of treatment, according to United Nations.

The Zambian government is also due to sign up to a five million dollar UNITAID programme to finance costly second line antiretroviral drugs in Zambia, one of the countries worst affected by HIV/AIDS.

UNITAID was launched last year by Brazil, Britain, France, Chile, Norway as an international drug purchasing facility for poor countries, partly funded by airline ticket levies.

At least 34 countries have signed up as donors to the 300 million dollar fund, which is aiming to help treat an additional 100,000 child HIV/AIDS victims in the world this year, and provide drugs against other major diseases.

UNITAID board chief Philippe Douste-Blazy is also due to discuss the supply of new artemisin-based anti-malarial and tuberculosis drugs with Zambian officials.

Although not part of the United Nations, the organization is backed by the World Health Organization.


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