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Zimbabwe AIDS Activists Welcome Global Fund Grant

With some $67 million on its way to Zimbabwe from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Fund official said the country’s latest application was approved because it seemed more likely to succeed than previous ones.

About $36 million of the latest grant round is designated for HIV-AIDS programs.

Fund spokesman Jon Liden told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Fund did not give in to pressure to give the country a large grant, and that politics has never influenced Fund decisions, as Harare has charged.

Activists in Zimbabwe’s fight against AIDS say the Global Fund grant will make a huge difference to those affected – roughly a quarter of the population – because the latest proposal focused on community participation and expanded access to treatment.

Tapiwa Kujinga of Mutare said the HIV-AIDS community is worried about transparency in program spending and accounting as well as bureaucratic red tape that may keep money from getting to the intended beneficiaries throughout the country.

Executive director Lynde Francis of The Center, an AIDS care organization in Harare, and a board member of the country’s Community Coordinating Mechanism, listed the priorities for the funding in an interview with reporter Carole Gombakomba.

Tendayi Westerhof, national director of the Public Personalities Against AIDS Trust, said Zimbabwe’s anti-AIDS community must be deeply involved throughout the disbursement of the funding and the implementation of treatment programs.

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