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Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the government of Zimbabwe on increasing women's access to sanitary products. (108738)

I have not had such discussions, but I applaud the work of those who are campaigning for increased women’s access to sanitary products in Zimbabwe and wish them every success in their fund-raising. The high cost and limited availability of these products is symptomatic of the dramatic economic decline in Zimbabwe in recent years. Along with others in the international community, we have made clear our deep concern about the policies of the Government of Zimbabwe which shows no interest in discussions about the fundamental policy reforms which are needed. Meanwhile, 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, many of whom will face serious food shortages in the coming months. All of DFID’s assistance is delivered through NGOs and UN agencies—none of our funding is channelled through the Government of Zimbabwe.