Zimbabwe: The Global Fund ceases direct funds to government agencies

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The Global Fund has stopped financing HIV and Aids programmes through
the Zimbabwe government-controlled National Aids Council (NAC) opting
to channel funds through a United Nations agency.

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

The controversial Reserve Bank Governor, Gedion Gono admitted raiding
the grant account to finance ZANU PF election campaigns last year. He promised to return the funds.

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 on Thursday NAC chief executive Tapiwa Magure said the fund had stopped direct injection of money nto 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 the UNDP are now the
principal recipient of the funds on HIV and Aids. It is a retrogressive step at the moment.”

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.

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.

The Global Fund is currently committed to supporting 40 000 out of 340 000 HIV patients annually at a cost of over US$4 million.

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