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South African Pres Mbeki Criticizes UN AIDS Fund Grant


PRETORIA, South Africa (AP)--South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki accused the U.N.'s Global Fund for AIDS Thursday of flouting its own rules by funding anti-AIDS programs without proper government approval.

The $60 million grant from the U.N.'s Global Fund to Fight Aids was originally earmarked for AIDS victims in the KwaZulu-Natal province, where government studies indicate more than one in three people are HIV positive.

But Mbeki said the funds would instead be dispersed by the national government rather than provincial authorities.

"We don't know the reason why the fund dealt with us nationally, and with KwaZulu-Natal," he said.

AIDS activists have called for the resignation of South Africa's health minister for placing the grant in jeopardy.

Some 4.7 million South Africans - one in nine - are HIV positive, more people than in any other country in the world. The government has drawn widespread criticism over its haphazard and ineffective approach toward tackling the epidemic and downplaying its seriousness.

Mbeki said the national government was awaiting a report on AIDS mortality rates before dispensing the U.N. grant. The report would be finalized by year-end, he said, adding that tuberculosis remained the leading cause of death in South Africa.


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Information in this article was accurate in July 25, 2002. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.