ONE of the members in the Zimbabwe Aids Network (ZAN) says they have not received any information nor evidence on Government’s payment towards the USD6, 9 million needed to pay off money owed to suppliers of antiretroviral treatment (ART) and laboratory reagents in the country.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This emerged when ZAN members gave oral evidence before a joint sitting of HIV/AIDS thematic committee and Health Portfolio Committee.
Health Committee Chair Dr Ruth Labode wanted confirmation from ZAN which sits on the Zimbabwe Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) on receipt of the reportedly disbursed US$2, 5 million.
“Is our co-funding only US$6, 9 ,million? Is it only that amount because from them hear different figures? Is it only USD6, 9 million that we need? And also I once heard the Minister of Finance Professor Mthuli Ncube claimed they released USD2, 5 million. From those who were in that CCM is it true?” she asked.
Another parliamentarian said in their meeting with the Finance Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga they were promised under oath that the much needed counterpart financing needed to restock the country experiencing antiretroviral stockouts.
“We just want to let you know that we are on your side. We once had the Finance Permanent Secretary before the thematic committee of HIV/AIDS who under oath promised to pay the $6, 9 million USD by August 30,” said the HIV/AIDS thematic committee chair Senator Morgan Femai.
Senator Femai also said now that they heard nothing has been received as yet they probe the matter.
“We are going to sit down as a joint committee and then chart the way forward. We are an arm of parliament and we should investigate further to see what is blocking the money,” he said.zs
Zimbabwe Young Positives national coordinator Anna Sango said at the last CCM meeting held, there was no evidence showing the purportedly USD2, 5 million paid.
“The challenge we have in the CCM is that we are getting inconsistent information when it comes to this issue hence we have sought to take this route. I think that issue was also raised in the last CCM but there was nothing in documentation or in writing regarding that which could have led us to a follow up. A recommendation was made that a committee was to be set up to engage the finance ministry and Health ministry to get a practical tangible document detailing these issues,” she said.
Fears abound people living with HIV that they might receive money from Government at a time when the medicines are left with a short shelf life.
“We now fear that when the money comes it will be too late as manufacturers might be holding on to the ART medicines until payment is done,” Zimbabwe Aids Network board member Mr Tapiwanashe Kujinga told Parly.
The Global Fund country team visited Zimbabwe twice and once engaged Prof Ncube on increasing domestic resources towards financing HIV/AIDS initiatives.
In March, the Finance Minister in a tweet promised to commit to the counterpart finance.
“Meeting with The Global Fund (HIV, TB, Malaria) team from Geneva, led by Mark Edington. The Global Fund is an important funder for the health sector, and Zimbabwe supports the replenishment drive for the Fund,” he said.
The counterpart financing or contribution to the Global Fund is 15 percent of the total grant.