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Global Fund Awards $37.9M To Zimbabwe

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Friday awarded Zimbabwe $37.9 million to help fight the three diseases, “and in an unusual move handed the money directly to the new unity government,” the Associated Press reports. “Other donors have channeled aid to private groups in Zimbabwe, reflecting international unwillingness to deal with Robert Mugabe,” who “remains president in the coalition formed in March, with former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister,” the news service writes (8/8).

“We are glad today marks a turning point on our relationship particularly in the time between a troubled past and what we hope to be a somewhat easier future,” Fareed Abdullah, head of the Africa unit of the Global Fund said during the grant ceremony in the capital of Harare, Agence France-Presse reports (8/8). Last year, the Global Fund announced “Zimbabwe’s central bank had confiscated $7.3 million in 2007 meant for health programmes,” according to Reuters. The money has since been returned, according to Global Fund officials. Abdullah “said the money, previously managed by the state-appointed National AIDS Council, would now be overseen by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Zimbabwe,” the news service adds (Banya, 8/7).

“This is an indication that the inclusive government is now working fully and is being accepted by the international community,” Tsvangirai said Friday, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports (8/7). “For thousands of Zimbabwe’s health workers who have had to endure unacceptable work conditions, this fund will go a long way in addressing their plight,” he said, the AFP reports (8/8).

The Herald/allAfrica.com writes: “The funds, which will be used over a period of six months, are expected to start ‘flowing’ into the country in the next three weeks … Of the grant, $20.4 million will go towards HIV and AIDS programmes, $11.1 for malaria initiatives and $5.7 million for tuberculosis intervention schemes” (8/8).

The Guardian explores the efforts underway to rebuild Zimbabwe, “six months after Robert Mugabe and his arch-rival, Morgan Tsvangirai publicly swallowed their enmity and tried to speak with one voice.”  The newspaper notes, “Supermarket shelves that were once bare are stocked high again, though 94 percent unemployment means many people cannot afford to shop … Hospitals and clinics are functioning again, with doctors and nurses back at work … the revival comes with caveats. About 70 percent of the population does not have access to clean water and the cholera outbreak that killed more than 4,000 people is widely predicted to return with the rainy season towards the end of the year. The decay of agriculture appears to be slowing but farm invasions continue” (Smith, 8/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.