By Anna Chibamu
GOVERNMENT has been urged to put its words into action in terms of its commitment to resuscitating the country’s health delivery system, the Global Fund’s Zimbabwe Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) executive secretary Oscar Mundida said Monday.
Mundinda said this while giving oral evidence before a joint evidence gathering session by the Portfolio and Thematic Committees on Health at which he urged government to pay its US$1 million it promised to contribute.
The Global Fund wants to see evidence of commitment through receipts and not by word of mouth. Government’s commitment is lacking,” Mundinda said.
He said discussions regarding the handover of the programme between government and the Global Fund are underway.
“The concept of handing over the programme by the Global Fund to government is being discussed right now but if we pull out, what assurance is there that this administration will manage?
“So we are saying through production of receipts, we can be able to be certain that the country can take over this project. Failure to produce these may mean the health care is no longer priority,” said Mundida.
Mundida told the committees that government has paid only US$300 000 out of the US$1 million it pledged.
Asked by the Health and Child Care portfolio committee chairperson Ruth Labode to shed light around claims that government owed the Global Fund US$6.9 million, Mundinda said it was the National Aids Council (NAC) that had procured ARVs and reagents through the fund but has since failed to pay back the money totaling US$5.9 million plus the pledged US$1million.
NAC acting chief executive officer Albert Manenji however highlighted that the legacy debt was difficult to clear because of the current exchange rate fluctuations.
“Our suppliers allowed us to acquire drugs and then pay later in installments but now with our constrained budget of $51 million last year and $111 million this year, it will be difficult to make payments as expected,” said Manenji.
The Global Fund paid US$506 million to Zimbabwe for the 2018-2020 cycle with a pledge to pay US$36 million of which not even a cent has been paid.
The international health donor supports 710 000 patients on ARVs whilst the rest are taken care of by US through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and NAC.