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Mr. Stephen Twigg: Colleges of further education are already permitted to offer unitised courses. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) will fund unitised programmes for adult learners that consist of units of approved qualifications. The LSC generally expects the learning aim for young people to be a full qualification.
Mr. Miliband: The Government's objective is that all schools should offer a programme of out of school hours study support. For 200405, all local education authorities and schools have received government funding through the School Development Grant to support such activities. Somerset LEA has received a total School Development Grant of £6,588,122. It is for local authorities and schools to determine what provision will best meet the needs of the young people in the area.
In addition, the Big Lottery Fund awarded an out of school hours learning school sports co-ordinator grant to Wyvern Community College in September 2002. This grant runs to 2005 and aims to benefit 33 schools in the Weston-Super-Mare area.
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what efforts his Department is making in conjunction with the Afghanistan Government to promote education in Afghanistan. 
Hilary Benn: In agreement with the Afghan Transitional Administration, the UK focuses its efforts on a limited number of areas. DFID is currently working to build the capacity of key line ministries, promote rural development and sustainable rural livelihoods, enable effective governance and economic management and facilitate security sector reform.
DFID does, though, provide significant resources through both our contributions to multilateral organisations and as direct contributions to the Afghan Reconstruction Fund (£30 million 200304; £45 million in 200405), which supports Afghanistan's wider development needs, including in education.
Since the fall of the Taliban, more than 4 million children have returned to school, 37 per cent. of which are girls. There are now 70,000 teachers (1/3 are women) and 6,500 schools. In March 2002, 20,000 students sat university entrance exams.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the most recent figures collected by the World Health Organisation are for (a) the number of people suffering from AIDS and (b) the countries most affected. 
Hilary Benn: The most recent figures available are those given in the UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) "4th Global Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic" which will be deposited in the Libraries of the House shortly. The report is the product of data collected by both UNAIDS and WHO (World Health Organisation).
Today, some 37.8 million people (range: 34.642.3 million) are living with HIV and AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the hardest hit region with an estimated 25 million people infected with HIV. The countries most affected are: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response he will make to the United Nations Development Programme estimate that 223 million Indians do not have enough to eat. 
Although India has achieved self-sufficiency in food at a national level, chronic hunger remains due to problems of access and distribution. There are an estimated 233 million (19982000) undernourished people, with particular problems among women, scheduled castes, adolescent girls and under-fives (over 50 per cent. undernourished).
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DFID is committed to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015. DFID's Country Assistance Plan for India recognises the challenge associated with the hunger MDG target and has supported analysis of food security in India and other Asian countries. DFID-supported programmes in India that most directly impact on hunger poverty include rural livelihoods projects that reduce the vulnerability of poor people and their access to services (total of 154 million over seven projects) and support to government's primary education programmes including the mid-day meals scheme. DFID India also supports the Indian government to promote pro-poor economic growth, which is closely associated with the reduction of both income poverty and hunger.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what programmes the Government are supporting for the eradication of malaria; and what means are being used to remove malaria breeding grounds in Africa. 
Hilary Benn: There is no magic bullet for eradicating malaria. Removing malaria-breeding sites has proved to be a poor strategy for most countries in Africa. A few have tried, using approaches such as larva eating fish in water tanks and water management programmes, but the results have been mixed. Early attempts in the 1950s to eradicate malaria have been tempered by the complexities of the disease and its vectorthe mosquito. The global strategy has shifted to one of control rather than eradication: to 'roll back' malaria. Any strategy needs to take into account many factors: man, climate, mosquito and parasite. The main components of an effective response are to ensure early effective treatment, and to prevent mosquito bites through the use of insecticide-treated bed nets. Malaria parasites are developing very high levels of resistance to one drug after another. Therefore, continued drug research and development is necessary.
Nevertheless, effective low-cost strategies are available for malaria treatment, prevention and control. The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) global partnership is vigorously promoting them in Africa. Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) can reduce malaria transmission, and lives can be saved by prompt access to treatment with effective up-to-date medicines such as artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). The Department for International Development (DFID) is actively engaged in the international effort to control malaria. DFID is providing £48 million to RBM for the period 1999 to 2004 and has have pledged £140 million for the period 200508 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Since 1997, DFID has committed £1.5 billion to support health systems strengthening globally.
While national governments determine their own drug policies, DFID fully supports the World Health Organisation's recommendation to scale up the use of the more effective ACTs as the first line of treatment where there is significant resistance to traditional anti-malarial drugs. DFID is also supporting the RBM Partnership in developing a "road map" to increase
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access to ACTs and also supports a number of public-private partnerships with industry to research and bring new anti-malarial drugs to the market.
Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) financial and (b) food assistance his Department is offering to the Palestinian Authority in (i) West Bank and (ii) Gaza. 
Hilary Benn: Planned development expenditure for Palestinians this financial year is £28.5 million. £16.15 million of this is planned for technical assistance and financial support to the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Civil Society. This covers both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. DFID's funds are not specifically allocated to either area. £12.35 million is planned for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. This provides basic services for Palestinian refugees in the region, including food assistance for the most needy refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Hilary Benn: The UK is fully committed to eradicating polio. DFID has been working with G8 partners, other donors and the World Health Organisation-led Global Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) to help ensure that there is sufficient financial and political commitment to eradicate polio by end 2005. Since 1988 the UK has contributed some £225 million (including bilateral commitments) to the PEI out of a total global commitment of US $3 billion. Through DFID's country programmes, we support national efforts in Africa to step-up polio immunisation, and strengthen health systems and routine immunisation. Since 1997, the UK has committed £1.5 billion to strengthening health systems globally.
Already millions of children have been spared the crippling effects of polio and only six countries remain polio-endemic (including Egypt, Niger and Nigeria), compared with 125 in 1988. However this progress is now at risk following the importation of the poliovirus into 10 previously polio-free countries across Africa.
DFID welcomes the decision by 22 African nations in May, to launch a massive immunisation effort to prevent a possible epidemic in the region. DFID has been working closely with the PEI and other donors to secure the funding and political commitment necessary to support the efforts of affected countries and to resolve the risks to the polio eradication campaign. At the Sea Island summit in June, G8 members including the UK promised to take all necessary steps to eradicate polio by 2005. The UK holds the G8 Presidency in 2005 and we shall maintain the momentum needed to ensure that the G8 and other public and private donors provide sufficient political and financial resources to eradicate polio once and for all.
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