26 Sep 2011

Donors require Marshall Islands to include money for TB and leprosy in budget

8:12 pm on 26 September 2011

The Marshall Islands has been forced to include funding for tuberculosis and leprosy control programmes in its new national budget.

Parliament passed its fiscal year 2012 budget of 132 million US dollars last Friday, ahead of the new financial year which starts on October the 1st.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson says the United States government said it wouldn't release any of the seven million dollars of funding for the health ministry until the Marshall Islands included provisions for TB and leprosy programmes.

"In the originally introduced budget a month ago there was no funding specifically broken out under health for the drug resistant TB control programme and the leprosy programme. And these were identified in a meeting several weeks ago with US officials as being key funding areas that had to be funded."

Giff Johnson says the Marshall Islands budget is heavily dependent on funding from the US and Taiwan, which together provide 70 percent of it.