The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria confirmed June 16 that it has suspended the release of grant money to Zambia since August 2009 in light of corruption allegations against the country’s health ministry.
The global public-private partnership clarified in a statement that around USD17 million of the USD137 million allotted for Zambia’s Ministry of Health has been diverted to other channels in order to avoid disruption in health services. The United Nations Development Program will take over management of the funds intended for the health department, the Global Fund said.
It added that USD180 million worth of funding for civil society organizations in the African nation are not affected by the freeze. It demanded that the Zambian government take action against those accountable for the missing funds.
Meanwhile, the government downplayed fears of a health crisis as a result of the funding suspension.
“It is just that the Ministry of Health will no longer be the principal recipient of the funding but all programs will continue under UNDP,” Health Minister Kapembwa Simbao said to Reuters.
This latest aid freeze comes a year after Sweden and the Netherlands suspended the disbursement of USD33 million in funds to the Zambian Health Ministry as USD5 million went missing.