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ZIMBABWE: AIDS Council disburses funds despite criticism

Zimbabwe's National AIDS Council (NAC) would continue distributing money from the national AIDS fund, despite recent allegations that politics had "infiltrated" the organisation, a NAC official told PlusNews.

Local newspaper, the Daily News reported that Edith Masunda, board chair of Zimbabwe's AIDS Network (ZAN) said the NAC had become politicised and that new ways had to be found for all beneficiaries to benefit from the national AIDS fund.

"It is so politicised that we fear care and support for AIDS patients will soon be along political lines," a ZAN member was quoted as saying.

According to Zorodzai Machekanyanga, advocacy and information officer for NAC, these allegations would not disrupt the organisation's work.

The NAC will provide Z$7.8 million (US $146,000) in funding for home-based care services for people living with HIV/AIDS and children orphaned by the disease in 84 districts throughout the country, a local state-controlled newspaper reported on Sunday.

The government would monitor all funding for HIV/AIDS programmes to ensure that the money was not wasted and that action was taken against individuals or groups that misused the funds, NAC Executive Director Dr Everisto Marowa said.

Zimbabwe's National Network for People living with HIV/AIDS (ZNNP+) has been working to improve relations between AIDS NGOs and the NAC, ZNNP+ acting director Jefta Mxotshwa, told PlusNews.

"The main thing is that AIDS NGOs should focus on the interests of people living with HIV/AIDS and those that are affected. Once everything is along political lines, then there are problems," Mxothswa said.

"We've been in contact with the government and they have been fully supportive. Things have settled down now," he added.

The proper use of funds depended on the provincial structures. "Some are active and have been making good use of the funds and some are having problems, because there is no guidance," he said.

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