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7 Feb 2006 : Column 1049W—continued

Departmental Assets

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the items of departmental property worth over £100 that have been reported as (a) lost and (b) broken in the last 12 months. [47679]

Mr. Thomas: For the period 1 January to 31 December 2005, the following items with a value of £100 or more were either (a) lost or (b) broken in DFID.
DescriptionValue (£)
(a) Lost
Lap Top Computer700
Computer Monitor Screen417
Mobile Phone100
Plumbing Fittings1,583
Mobile Phone100
Lap Top Computer1,000
Lap Top Computer550
Lap Top Computer1,500
Mobile Phone150
Mobile Phone100
Mobile Phone100
Lap Top Computer1,200
Digital Camera206
Office Equipment1,932
Satellite Phone500
Lap Top Computer250
(b) Broken
Portable Exhibition Display Stand1,986

7 Feb 2006 : Column 1050W

Early Retirement

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many departmental employees have taken early retirement due to ill-health in each of the past five years for which figures are available. [46747]

Mr. Thomas: A total of 11 departmental employees have taken early retirement due to ill-health in the past five calendar years from the Department for International Development. On grounds of confidentiality, we are unable to disclose the individual yearly totals as there were less than five ill health retirements in each of the past five years.

Food Shortages

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department takes to assist states facing food shortages due to locusts. [49666]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has a group of humanitarian advisers at regional and country level that monitor the food situation and the potential for food crises across Africa.

Where abnormal locust infestations threaten food security, DFID can provide support for ad-hoc locust control operations. For example, in 2004 DFID committed £1.5 million channelled through the United Nations Food Agriculture Organisation towards the emergency locust control operations in the Sahel Region.

Where locusts or other natural disasters destroy crops which result in widespread food shortages, DFID also supports the United Nations and non-governmental organisations to deliver relief, for example, in Sahel in 2005, DFID allocated £4.9 million for emergency food and nutrition interventions.

HIV Prevention Goal

Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what actions the Government have taken to help countries achieve the global prevention goal to reduce HIV prevalence among young men and women aged 15 to 24 years, by 2005. [48787]

Mr. Thomas: The UK played a key role in securing support for the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) prevention policy Intensifying HIV prevention" at its June 2005 programme co-ordination board, which I attended. This policy clearly emphasises the importance of evidence-informed prevention, including linking sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV programmes and access to SRH supplies including female condoms, and tackling harm reduction.

Building on this, as EU president, we steered and secured agreement on the first EU wide policy Statement on HIV Prevention launched on World AIDS day 2005. This important document affirms the commitment of all 25 European member states to comprehensive and evidence based HIV prevention programming including:

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Also on World AIDS Day 2005, the UK Government published a paper on Harm reduction—tackling drug use and HIV in the developing world". The paper builds on cross-Government consensus on harm reduction, ensuring a coordinated and collaborative UK approach.

Harm reduction refers to policies, strategies and programmes designed to reduce the harm associated with the use of psychoactive substances, including illicit drugs. Actions include:

Harm reduction activities provide an important entry point for interventions such as condom distribution, voluntary counselling and testing, peer education on safer sex and reproductive health. In addition to strong policy and strategy directions, the UK has invested in a number of aid instruments which are helping to secure effective HIV prevention outcomes. This includes our substantial investments in the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, (£100 million annually in 2006 and 2007) the World Bank and in new prevention technologies (International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, International Partnership on Microbicides and the Microbicides Development Programme).

Across Africa, DFID's 16 priority country programmes 1 are working with national partners to deliver comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care services. The main focus has been to strengthen national multi-sectoral responses in line with the Three Ones 2 ". Within this our programmes strengthen national HIV prevention efforts such as ensuring a stable supply of sexual and reproductive health services and commodities including male and female condoms. For example, DFID's £20 million HIV programme (STARZ) works with the Government of Zambia's national HIV and AIDS programme to provide reproductive health supplies, including condoms and education materials for HIV prevention, along with expansion of prevention of mother to child transmission programmes. In Uganda, we are funding civil society organisations such as TASO to provide prevention services such as youth clubs, radio talks, peer education workshops along with provision of care (counselling, clinical services, child support) to people living with AIDS .

Brazil's success in stabilising its AIDS epidemic within a decade is an acknowledged model for the developing world. Using the two principles of a rights based approach for people living with HIV and AIDS, and full dialogue and involvement of civil society, prevalence rates in Brazil are less than half the level estimated by the World Bank 10 years ago. The 15 to 24-years age group receive priority attention in AIDS
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education and health promotion initiatives, with a strong focus on mass media campaigns, backed up with small group education and condom distribution. DFID is now supporting the Brazil programme to provide technical assistance to AIDS programmes in other countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the Caribbean, as in many places, stigma and discrimination is driving the epidemic. There are particular concerns that young women in the 15 to 24-years age group are now twice as likely as their male peers to be infected with HIV. DFID has been funding a Champions for Change" programme, designed to encourage political, community and faith-based leaders to speak out against stigma and discrimination directed towards people living with HIV and AIDS, sex workers and men who have sex with men. Early signs, from the UNAIDS Epidemic Update (December 2005) show that overall prevalence may be starting to reach a plateau, though much remains to be done to continue and expand this improving trend.

DFID supports the response to AIDS in nine countries in Asia: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Burma (through the UN). HIV in these countries is less than 1 per cent. (with the exception of Cambodia where the incidence and prevalence rates of HIV are now falling, and Burma where measurement is particularly challenging). The relevant UN targets in these countries are therefore the prevalence rates in vulnerable groups rather than in the general population aged 15 to 24. Much of DFID's effort in these countries is directed towards prevention. This includes supporting evidence of modes of transmission and trends in spread of infection in emerging epidemics. We are also supporting the targeted delivery of services to vulnerable groups such as injecting drug users, sex workers and their clients and men who have sex with men.

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