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Global Fund Earmarks US$169 Million For Zimbabwe Despite Issues With Central Bank

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Monday promised Zimbabwe US$169 million in its eighth round of funding, finalized over the weekend by the board of the international health organization at a meeting in New Delhi, India.

Many in Zimbabwe had feared that the country would be refused new funding because the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe mishandled funds given to Zimbabwe in previous Global Fund rounds. But the central bank returned the US$7.3 million last week after coming under international scrutiny for misusing those and other donor funds.

HIV/AIDS activist Martha Tholana told VOA that while the local community is pleased with the Global Fund decision, vigilance is called for in their handling in future.

Tholana added that the country's health care system remains in critical condition, because monies from the Global Fund ear earmarked for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, while even leading state hospitals in Harare are closing wards due to the economic crisis.

VOA was unable to reach Health Minister David Parirenyatwa for comment.

Global Fund Communications Director John Liden told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the latest funds pledged to Zimbabwe have conditions attached to them to avoid future problems at the central bank.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...