Zimbabwe Dissolves AIDS Council Due to ‘Political Infighting’
The government of Zimbabwe, one of the "worst AIDS-affected" nations in the world, announced last week that it plans to dissolve its National AIDS Council amid allegations of "inappropriate political support and mismanagement of funds," the Lancet reports. Timothy Stamps, minister of health and child welfare, told the Parliament that he made the decision because he "felt that the council had not been properly constituted." Established last year to oversee "all HIV/AIDS-related activities" and administer the newly established national AIDS trust -- a $1 billion fund supported by a 3% national tax -- the council has been "strongly criticized" by the Community Working Group on Health, representing more than 30 health groups in the country, for failing to set up a mechanism for distributing the funds. Some public health experts have raised "concern" that the money is actually being funneled into defense and military projects. CWGH is asking for the establishment of a more "transparent" system for dispensing the funds. Stamps said he will appoint a "complete secretariat" before addressing the fund distribution problem. The revisions will make the council "more efficient," he added. Council chair Gordon Chavunduka "dismissed" the minister's allegations, saying the council has had a "fully constituted secretariat" since January. He added that Stamps is "not happy" with his support of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (Ahmad, Lancet, 3/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.