2005-11-04-Scottish aid for HIV in Malawi

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2005-11-04-Scottish aid for HIV in Malawi


Scotland is to help fight HIV and Aids in Malawi as part of its co-operation agreement with the African country.

The First Minister Jack McConnell made the pledge at the start of a two-day conference in Edinburgh.

He told politicians and experts in the audience that Scotland would help support the specialised treatment of HIV and Aids.

The health assistance is part of £2.4m in aid for education programmes and economic development in Malawi.

Malawi's President, Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, said 85,000 people died in Malawi each year from HIV-Aids.

Mr McConnell told the conference that life expectancy in Malawi was 37 and expected to fall to 35 by 2010.

Three-year programme

He said that children under five in the African country were 27 times more likely to die than those in Scotland.

"We are already supporting a three-year programme to train 300 Malawian nurses, and we will also support teaching for trainee clinical officers, midwives and medical specialists," he said.

"We will provide support to build up capacity in the specialised treatment of HIV and Aids, including backing VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) volunteers."

The executive three-year funding package is the first money to be distributed from its International Development Fund.

Patricia Ferguson, who has ministerial responsibility for international development, said the cash would be used to train teachers, improve hospitals and provide education opportunities for farmers.

In his speech the first minister outlined a moral case for helping the world's 10th poorest country and argued that it was a proper role for a devolved Scottish Executive.

After the G8 summit and the Commission for Africa report, Mr McConnell said it was time for "one great push" across the developing and developed worlds to end poverty.

He added: "Today it is clear that if we aren't part of the solution in Africa, we exacerbate the problem.

"In common with other countries in the developed world, Scotland has made some striking advances over the last few decades.

"But with that has come waste, and at times greed, as a feature of the developed world we now live in.

"So I hope that through our partnership, we in Scotland might learn to be less materialistic, to value what we have, and to share some of the spirit and optimism that is evident in Malawi."

Princess Royal

The conference was opened by the Princess Royal, who first visited Malawi in 1982.

She said: "The ordinary men and women of Malawi have what it takes to bring about positive change.

"They are a resilient and ingenious people, and that is evident from the energy and entrepreneurial talent of the market woman and traders from all over the country.

"With the necessary support and leadership from government and international partners, they really should be able to fulfil their potential."

 


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