11 October 2012

Zambia: Nation Gets $102 Million Grant for HIV/Aids

THE Global Fund (GF) to fight HIV\AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria has given Zambia a grant of US$102 million (about K500 billion) through the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) to continue supporting the national HIV/AIDS responses in the country.

The signing of the single stream funding grant was a consolidation of four grants which had since made Zambia the only country in the region to have successfully done so.

From the grant, over 404,275 people would be counselled and tested, 80,479 placed on treatment, 84,000 males circumcised and 70,050 orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) would receive care and support.

Global Fund head - grant management programmes division from Geneva, Eldon Edington praised the Zambian Government for implementing measures to ensure resources in the health sector reached the intended purposes.

Mr Edington said in Lusaka yesterday at a signing ceremony that he was impressed with the Zambian Government's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in all parts of the country.

"I am very glad to be here to sign this agreement with Zambia today. This new grant will increase Global Fund's investments of high impact interventions that will help Zambia reach universal access of HIV treatment," he said.

He said Zambia had continued to make tremendous strides in the fight against major diseases using GF resources and that his organisation would also continue to invest in the country's health sector.

Mr Edington said Zambia had been rated among high countries making positive impacts in combating various diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria by working with various cooperating partners.

Health Minister Joseph Kasonde said the signing of the single stream funding grants, which brought K500 billion into Zambia, would target high impact areas to support efforts in the fight against major diseases.

He said Zambia was privileged to have been a recipient of GF grants since inception in 2002 in which K2.5 billion had been disbursed, helping the country in areas of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria fight.

Dr Kasonde said the Government, through the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP), had prioritised health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and was impressed with CHAZ for its concerted efforts to improve the health sector.

"The Government health care financing through the Ministry of Health and its partners is focusing on exploring ways of introducing alternative means of financing the provision of health services to raise additional revenue, promote efficient utilisation of Government health facilities, equity and delivery of quality health care services," he said.

Dr Kasonde said the Government had embarked on a process to have a comprehensive health care financing strategy and was also considering setting up a national health fund.

The fund would start operating a social health insurance scheme with public servants being an entry point, adding that there would be a clear roll out plan for private and informal sectors.

CHAZ chairperson Joop Jansen was happy with the Government for contuinuing to work with various cooperating partners to improve the health service delivery system in Zambia.

Dr Jansen said CHAZ, as the recipient, would strive to take into account risks, transparency and accountability of the grant funds.

CHAZ GF to fight AIDS, TB and malaria country coordinating mechanism chairperson Wilson Mwenya assured that the resources would be put to good use.

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