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Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of his Department's aid to Swaziland went directly into

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development projects in the last year for which figures are available; and what percentage was allocated to the national government. [149157]

Hilary Benn: In 2002–03 (the last year for which figures are available) DFID spent around £800,000 bilaterally on development assistance to Swaziland. None of this was channelled through the Swazi Government.

Learning Disabilities (Iraq/Afghanistan)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the number of people suffering from learning disabilities in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. [148085]

Hilary Benn: In Iraq, UNICEF are taking the lead, with USAID, on assessing the post-war state of the education sector. UNICEF are currently undertaking an education survey to be completed by the end of February. But due to continuing high levels of insecurity for staff of international organisations, and low-capacity in many parts of the Iraqi education system, it currently remains difficult even to mount a simple survey of the number of schools, classes, pupils and teachers—and only in a limited range of geographical areas. We therefore understand that issues such as the number of special needs students will not be included in the present survey. UNICEF do, however, have a strong concern for special needs and will be seeking to encourage the Ministry of Education to take action in this area at the earliest realistic opportunity.

In Afghanistan, surveys show that one in three children suffer from iodine deficiency which can lead to goitre, learning difficulties and, in extreme cases, severe mental impairment. UNICEF have begun a national iodized salt programme and are working through Mother and Child Health Clinics to treat and prevent iron-deficiency anaemia.


Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the rise in the reported cases of malaria in Africa. [149218]

Hilary Benn: While great progress has been made in reducing malarial mortality in the 1970s and 1980s, in many parts of Africa malarial mortality rates are now increasing. Malaria is Africa's leading cause of child mortality and constitutes 10 per cent. of the continent's overall disease burden. Approximately 3,000 people die from malaria each day in sub-Saharan Africa, most of them children.

A key cause of the rise in malaria deaths is an increase in resistance to antimalarial drugs, and the lack of affordable alternatives. In addition, the capacity of health systems to respond effectively to malaria is often inadequate.

None the less, malaria remains a disease that is preventable, treatable and curable. The Department for International Development (DFID) remains strongly committed to meeting the Millennium Development Goal to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015, recognising the importance of malaria,

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not just in terms of disease burden, but also the potential it has to undermine economic growth and human development.

Since 1998 DFID has provided in excess of £110 million to support malaria control activities globally and at country level. At the global level this includes support to Roll Back Malaria; a $280 million commitment to the Global Fund to Fights AIDS, TB and Malaria (which will fund distribution of insecticide impregnated bednets and appropriate anti-malarial medication); support to the Medical Research Council; support to the Malaria Consortium Resource Centre; and initiatives to help find new low-cost malaria treatments.

DFID also supports malaria control activities at country-level through our bilateral country programmes, either through direct support to the health sector or through general budget support. DFID is committed to supporting national governments and their partners to help ensure that effective drugs and commodities are accessible to the poor. Since 1997 we have committed over £1.5 billion to strengthen health systems to deliver vital drugs and health care treatment.

Maternal Mortality

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what the results have been of his Department's work with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and UN Population Fund to strengthen global leadership on maternal mortality; [148513]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development makes significant contributions to UNFPA, UNICEF, the World Bank and other international and national civil society groups to support their efforts to improve maternal health.

For the period July 2002 to June 2005, DFID has contributed £300 million per year (10.14 per cent. of total donor contributions) to the World Bank. In 2003, the percentage share of IDA's total lending on health and other social services was 19 per cent. ($1.4 billion). DFID country based offices work closely with the World Bank in financing and developing the health sector with country governments.

The Department provided £12.5 million in 2003 to WHO international programmes, including support for their "Making Pregnancy Safer" Programme. This programme is providing technical support to countries to disseminate and apply evidence-based policy and practice in maternal health, particularly on skilled attendance, management of complications, and strengthening health systems. This includes work with government on regulatory frameworks that better support women's health, on training programmes for skilled attendance and on translating national maternal health strategies into provincial and district plans and

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budgets. The programme is also carrying out research to support its work, for example, on links between maternal and newborn health and poverty.

DFID is represented on the steering committee of the Partnership for Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health together with the World Bank, the WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and other organisations. The Partnership aims to raise awareness of the extent and consequences of maternal deaths and ill health, disseminate lessons learnt, and encourage action to help vulnerable populations. DFID will be monitoring the impact that its contribution makes to global partnerships, including the Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health Partnership.

DFID gave UNFPA £18 million in 2003. UNFPA plays an important role in providing the widest achievable range of safe and effective family planning and contraceptive methods, including condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS. UNFPA is putting in place a medium term strategic plan, which seeks to enhance its organisational effectiveness. The UNFPA programme focuses on family planning, skilled attendance at birth and emergency obstetrics to prevent maternal mortality. Reproductive health and rights continue to be a key priority area for DFID and we remain firmly committed to the 1994 ICPD target of achieving access to reproductive health for all by 2015. We have continued to lobby hard for reproductive rights in international fora, and we work closely with partners such as the United Nations Population Fund.

DFID supports UNICEF's Medium Term Strategic Plan and in 2003 we provided £17 million in core resources. UNICEF implements programmes aimed at reducing maternal mortality. Achievements in this area during 2002 were:

Poverty (Definition)

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what definition he uses of (a) poor and (b) middle income countries; and if he will list the countries so defined. [148499]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: The poorest countries are those classified as low income, while poor countries also include those classified as middle income. DFID uses the same classification system as the Development

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Assistance Committee of the OECD. Under this system, countries are classified according to their GNI per capita levels in 1998:

The following list shows the countries that fall into each of these categories and current statistics are based on these groups.

These classifications will change for aid flows after 1 January 2003 when thresholds based on 2001 GNI per capita levels will be used.

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