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Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any funds have been made available to support access to sanitary products for the Zimbabwe women campaign. (97712)

I have been asked to reply.

I applaud the work of the Zimbabwe Women campaign and wish them every success in their efforts and their fund-raising. DFID has not provided funds directly to this campaign. DFID's top priorities are to tackle HIV and AIDS, currently causing over 3,200 deaths per week; and assisting over a million people living in dire poverty. DFID recently contributed £20 million to a behaviour change programme which is already showing results in reducing HIV infection rates in Zimbabwe. DFID has also committed £25 million to assist the country's 1.3 million orphans and £20 million to enable an additional 20,000 Zimbabweans with AIDS to access anti-retroviral therapy, treatment for opportunistic infections and other services including home based care. Last year we contributed £10 million to the World Food Programme's work in Zimbabwe. DFID supports an ongoing Protracted Relief Programme, spending some £10 million per year, which is providing food, seeds, fertilisers and other forms of practical assistance to over one million of the country's poorest and most vulnerable people. This has included giving access to clean drinking water to over 600,000 people in the last year. DFID is currently developing a new initiative to reduce the high mortality rates for mothers and newborn children, through support for reproductive health services including maintaining poor people's access to affordable contraceptives. All of DFID's assistance is delivered through NGOs and UN agencies—none of our funding is channelled through the Government of Zimbabwe.