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Global Fund Extends Life of Zimbabwe Funding for AIDS, Other Diseases

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has extended the availability of some US$38 million in unused grants to the country aiming to speed implementation of programs not rolled out due to the political and economic crisis of recent years.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Sylvia Manika reported from Harare that the Global Fund took the action after the government appealed the looming rescission of the funds for nonuse.

A Global Fund spokesman said the organization is satisfied with how its funds are being used in Zimbabwe, though the country lags behind most countries in grant disbursement due to the slow rollout of programs and problems in the oversight of Global Fund monies.

The country now has a lot to do in less than two months to reach agreed targets.

Global Fund Senior Communications Officer Nalin Mehta in Geneva told reporter Sandra Nyaira that although Zimbabwe was not awarded grants under the recent Round Nine of funding, it still has ample unused funds in the pipeline from earlier rounds.

Zimbabwe's National Aids Council, replaced as principal recipient of Global Fund monies by the United Nations Development Program, expressed satisfaction with the extension.

National Aids Council Director Tapuwa Magure told VOA that all programs will be scaled-up to fulfill the targets agreed with the Global Fund by a January deadline.

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