The Herald (Harare)

5 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Global Fund Commits More Grants to Zimbabwe

The United Nations Development Programme will continue to receive and disburse grants from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Zimbabwe. Global Fund senior fund portfolio manager for High Impact Africa 11 Mr Perry Mwangala said the fund's secretariat would continue to require assessment reports from the UNDP and the sub-recipients by a local fund agent.

He was speaking in an interview after a three-day visit to Zimbabwe last week.

Mr Mwangala said the decisions were based on the findings of an independent review conducted in June this year, on the additional safeguard policy to grants in Zimbabwe.

"Global Fund has decided to retain its right to select a principal recipient, and for now that is UNDP," he said.

"Secondly, the secretariat will continue to require the local fund agent to conduct enhanced PR and sub-recipients assessments."

The Global Fund introduced additional safeguard measures in 2008, which led to the appointment of UNDP as the PR of Zimbabwe's grants.

These measures are meant to ensure that grants are not diverted to other services other than those listed in the country's proposal.

Mr Mwangala said although Global Fund had retained some of the safeguard measures, the majority of them had been lifted.

Those that have been removed include disbursements of grants quarterly to twice a year.

Mr Mwangala said the new arrangement was meant to enable programmes to focus more on implementation rather than reporting.

"Having recognised the significant progress the programmes in Zimbabwe have made, including efforts to reach universal coverage for anti-retroviral treatment, and moving towards malaria elimination in a large number of districts, the secretariat has decided to shift disbursements from quarterly to semi-annual," Mr Mwangala said.

He noted that flow of funds to programmes in Zimbabwe was erratic owing to late disbursements.

"The year 2012 proved to be a challenging year for Zimbabwe grants as many of them were going for renewal, which was the main reason for delay in disbursing to programmes," he said.

Mr Mwangala said most of the Global Fund-supported projects in Zimbabwe reflected positive impact in the fight against diseases.

He said with the recent support from the US government and the DFID, the Global Fund was able to accelerate support for anti-retroviral treatment in Zimbabwe.

"This effort will ensure the HIV treatment programme has a six-month buffer for drugs to ensure and prevent treatment disruptions as well as realise universal coverage for anti-retroviral treatment," he said.

Mr Mwangala said they were in discussions with malaria programme officials and other partners to assess the possibility of universal coverage of treated mosquito nets for the entire country.

However, this would require the national malaria programme to conduct a thorough gap analysis before the Global Fund could support the realisation of universal coverage for mosquito nets.

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