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ZIMBABWE: Council disburses funds

Zimbabwe's National Aids Council (NAC) disbursed US $5 million from the AIDS Trust Fund to 53 districts on Tuesday.

Everisto Marowa, director of the NAC - a government agency that coordinates HIV/AIDS policy and controls the distribution of funds - told PlusNews that the districts successfully completed their action plans after consultation in their communities. He said 27 other districts would receive funding from the organisation by the end of October, on completion of their plans.

Marowa said all districts had identified youth programmes as an essential tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Districts would also use funds to care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and to provide home-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS. The funds would be managed within the communities, with the District AIDS Committee overseeing the process, he said. He added that the districts would receive training on how to manage their resources and the monitoring process would be simple.

The slow distribution of money from the AIDS Trust Fund caused controversy earlier this year, with many NGOs calling for the funds to be disbursed. The AIDS Trust Fund was created one year ago after the government decided to impose a three percent AIDS levy on personal and corporate income. In March, the government dissolved the NAC, after deciding that the agency "did not have the legal authority to manage the trust". Marowa said the NAC was now "fully operational" and was committed to "empowering communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS".

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Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation - SDC