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Zimbabweans Fighting HIV/AIDS Turned Away As State Clinics Close

In another blow to Zimbabwe's tottering health care sector, the opportunistic infections clinics at Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals in the capital and Chitungwiza Hospitals in the nearby satellite dormitory town have been forced to close their doors after their doctors and nurses joined a widening strike by health professionals.

Correspondent Sylvia Manika of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from Harare that the clinics provided critical services to those battling HIV/AIDS, including distribution of antiretroviral drugs and treatment of life-threatening AIDS-related illnesses.

Ironically, the shutdown of the units closely followed the news that the technical review panel of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria had backed Zimbabwe's application for up to US$500 million in the eighth round of funding.

Benjamin Mazhindu, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said members of his organization were scheduled to meet Health Minister David Parirenyatwa on Thursday to discuss the closures of the units.

While increased resources from the Global Fund could revive the clinics, Mazhindu told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that in the meantime, many of those struggling to resist AIDS could needlessly die.

HIV/AIDS activist Chitiga Mbanje told Brenda Moyo that Zimbabweans are waiting for a resolution to the political crisis so the country can address such critical issues.

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