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Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Diana fund's 5m pledge
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana showed compassion during visits to hospices
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund is to give 5m to help ease the suffering of the dying and bereaved in the developing world.

The fund aims to help HIV, Aids and cancer sufferers in east and southern Africa.

A five-year scheme will provide grants to existing palliative care projects and new initiatives, funding training and education programmes for policy makers, medical staff and carers.

The fund will also lobby governments to include palliative care in their national health plans.

The values that Diana, Princess of Wales, brought to her work with the dying and the bereaved warrant universal application, because they are universally important

Christopher Spence
Fund chairman
More than 50 million people die each year around the globe - 80% in the developing world, according to the fund.

Its chairman, Christopher Spence, said the scheme reflected the compassion the late princess showed during visits to hospices and care centres for those with long-term illnesses.

He said: "For millions of people in this region the approach of death is characterized by appalling pain, deprivation and neglect."

Mr Spence said relevant and holistic palliative care could be delivered cheaply and effectively.

"But much will depend on the health policies of national governments and the various agencies with the capacity to develop and deliver good practice in palliative care in the long term," he added.

Aids epidemic

The international director of the Oxford International Centre for Palliative Care, Dr Jan Stjernsward, said the scheme would have a huge impact.

The work would be concentrated in Africa because it had 24 million of the world's 34 million people with Aids.

"Five million pounds is the biggest amount in palliative care being spent in developing countries.

"Such care is sorely neglected in the Third World."

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which marks its fourth anniversary on 4 September, has pledged more than 45m ($64.9m) to charities this year.

Set up in the days following Diana's death in a car crash in Paris, it receives donations and profits from the sale of approved mementos.

The BBC's Rageh Omaar
"HIV is the defining national health issue in south Africa"
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