Monday, July 26, 2004

Zimbabwe: Global Fund for AIDS refuses grant

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria turned down Zimbabwe's application for a US$218 million grant. The Zim government thinks the decision was political ... and they're (gasp!) partially right cause politics does play a part.
"Yes, our proposal was turned down and we know it is very political," Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told the newspaper [Zimbabwe Standard].

[...] Global fund executive director Richard Feacham said the Zimbabwean request was turned down for a variety of reasons.

"Yes, the politics of a nation plays a role when we determine the country's application," Feacham was quoted as saying.

"There is a broad set of challenges in Zimbabwe that we consider in coming up with an agreement to reject their proposal, how and to whom we disburse the funds (and) what exchange rate regime do we use?

"It does not help the people of Zimbabwe to pass money through channels which are not well worked out," he said.

[... The] government will not be able to expand its [anti-retroviral] treatment programme into rural areas. It currently provides drugs at a total of four hospitals in the two biggest cities, Harare and Bulawayo. (source)
Is it ethical to punish the people for the mistakes of the government? Discuss.

UPDATE: The Zim government is appealing the decision ... and also ...
[An unnamed official of a UN agency that is part of the Global Fund ...] said the payment of some $14 million given to the Zimbabwe government last year is being held up pending negotiations on how it must be disbursed. (source)
UPDATE: July 29 ... the decision wasn't political ...
A spokesman for the Global Fund, Tim Clark, confirmed on Thursday that the country's proposal was turned down for "technical reasons", but stressed that the decision "had nothing to do with political considerations".

"Zimbabwe's application, like all the others, was assessed by an independent board of disease experts who found several technical shortcomings. To suggest that the Global Fund has made a decision based on political merit is ridiculous. After all, the Fund has worked with countries such as Sudan and North Korea," Clark told IRIN. (source)