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PlusNews Examines Efforts Of Malawi's New President To Restore Donor Relations, Fight HIV/AIDS

“Malawi’s new president, Joyce Banda, has inherited an unenviable to-do list from former president Bingu wa Mutharika, and AIDS activists are hoping that bolstering the donor-dependent AIDS response will be one of her most urgent priorities,” PlusNews reports. “An estimated 10 percent of the adult population is HIV-positive, with about 70,000 Malawians newly infected with HIV every year,” the news service writes, adding, “Yet the country is almost entirely dependent on external funding for its AIDS programs, and ambitious plans to scale up treatment have been derailed after the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria rejected a succession of funding proposals.”

However, “Banda has been working to restore relations with donors, and it seems to be paying off,” the news service notes. “‘We are hopeful that since more donors are now coming forward, such aid will trickle down to funding HIV/AIDS programs that have been hit by lack of funds,’ said Norman Mwambakulu, deputy secretary of the Department of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS,” according to PlusNews, which adds, “He is optimistic that the steps taken by the new administration to regain donor confidence will put the government’s efforts back on track, and that Malawi could still reach its target of having zero new HIV infections by 2015” (6/6).

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