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aids levy: Group
April 07, 2005
THE Community Working
Group on Health (CWGH) has
called for an audit into the disbursement of the Aids Levy to ascertain
if the funds are getting to the right beneficiaries.
The call was made in a report released last week, for the year ending
December 2004, only a few days after villagers in Masvingo, Midlands and
Mashonaland West provinces accused the National Aids Council of delaying
the disbursement process.
Although disgruntled villagers had demanded transparency and accountability,
the National Aids Council vehemently denied to answer some questions raised
by The Herald.
Three weeks down the line, the questions remain unanswered.
In its annual report for the year ending 2004, the CWGH, a network of
civic and community-based organisations whose aim is to collectively enhance
community participation in health in Zimbabwe, said there was need to
lobby for the relevant use of public funds.
Members of Parliament, the group said, should work with the National Aids
Council in conducting a review of the mechanisms used in the disbursements
of the Aids Levy.
"We have resolved to call for the restructuring of the District Aids Action
Committees (DAAC) to strengthen their representatives, transparency and
"There is also need for an audit into how much has already been disbursed
at DAAC level. The results of the audit should be made public," said the
Lately, there have been calls by many sections of society about the need
for more transparency and accountability in the way the Aids Levy funds
The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, Vice
President Joice Mujuru and Mashonaland East Governor Dr David Karimanzira
are some of the people that have called for NAC to be more accountable.
In its report, the CWGH said it would also lobby Parliament and the Government
for increased funding for health in the national budget.
Increased funding, said the group, also needed to be allocated to districts
and clinics so that they become able to provide basic services.
It is not surprising to find some clinics and district hospitals in the
country out of stock of the most basic things like painkillers, cotton
wool or dressings for bandages and this needed to change, said the report.
The CWGH said it would also lobby for subsidies on agricultural inputs
such as seed and fertilizer to encourage production rather than food handouts.
It was also interested in advocating and lobbying the Government and drug
manufacturers in the country and region, to invest in the production of
essential generic drugs including anti-retrovirals so that the region
becomes self-reliant. So far, a local company, Varichem, is the only company
manufacturing generic drugs.
"The CWGH will define and monitor as well the costs of a health basket,
similar to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe breadbasket of essential inputs
to support health."
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