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Global Fund Dumps NAC

THE Global Fund has stopped financing HIV and Aids programmes through the government-controlled National Aids Council (NAC) but will channel funds to fight the epidemic via a United Nations agency.

This was in reaction to the diversion of the fund’s US$7,3 million grant by the Reserve Bank last year.

Government recently requested US$297 million from the donor agency to fight HIV and Aids.
Giving oral evidence before parliament’s portfolio committee on health, NAC chief executive Tapiwa Magure said the fund had stopped direct injection of funds into the council.

“We have been the principal recipient of the Global Fund HIV and Aids programme and the Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals has been the recipient for Tuberculosis programmes,” Magure said.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has been the recipient for Malaria programmes but due to some of the problems that Honourable (Blessing) Chebundo has alluded to, the UNDP are now the principal recipient of the funds on HIV and Aids. It is a retrogressive step at the moment.”

Magure was responding to a question from Chebundo on whether government was still receiving direct funding from the Global Fund after the diversion of US$7,3 million by the central bank last year.

The official Global Fund website confirmed that the international aid agency was yet to announce the recipient of grants for the Round 8 of HIV and Aids, TB and Malaria programmes.

“Principal recipient information will become available upon grant signature,” the website said.

Magure told the parliamentary committee that the NAC through the National Aids Trust Fund received US$300 000 between April and May this year from revenue generated from the 3% Aids levy taxed on workers, adding that the money was insufficient due to the switch from the Zimbabwe dollar to the multi-currency national payment system earlier this year.

He said 50% of the fund would now be channelled to procure life- prolonging antiretroviral drugs.
A Health ministry medical officer responsible for HIV and Aids and TB prevention, Dr Owen Mugurungi, also told the committee that government was struggling to fight the two diseases due to inadequate local funding.

The NAC chief added that the UNDP would only start receiving the funds after a “transition period” between Round 5 of the grant and soon to commence Round 8.

The HIV and Aids council received over US$13 million in Round 5 of the portfolio grant, which targeted to scale up Anti Retroviral Therapy and HIV testing and Counselling in 22 districts in Zimbabwe. — Staff Writer.

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