South African Deputy President Denies Dispute Over Global Fund Grant to KwaZulu-Natal
South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma told Parliament on Wednesday that there was never a dispute between government officials and the KwaZulu-Natal province over a grant awarded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, BuaNews/AllAfrica.com reports (Mokgola, BuaNews/AllAfrica.com, 10/31). In April, the fund approved a one-year, multimillion-dollar grant that would allow KwaZulu-Natal to expand the Harvard AIDS Institute's Enhancing Care Initiative from one hospital to all clinics in the province. In June, the South African government tried to block the grant, stating that the grant application did not go through the national government before being submitted to the fund as specified in the application guidelines. KwaZulu-Natal officials said that they applied directly to the fund because South Africa had not yet established a Country Coordinating Mechanism at the time of application. The South African National AIDS Committee has since been designated as the nation's CCM. In a statement released in July, KwaZulu-Natal Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that he and South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang had agreed to pool the funds under the National AIDS Council, which would use the money "in a manner that will benefit all the provinces equitably and within programs contained within the proposals submitted to the Global Fund." Fund officials, however, have said that South Africa cannot reallocate the funds and must reapply for the grant in order to alter the arrangement (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/9). On Wednesday, Zuma, who serves as chair of SANAC, denied any dispute over the matter between Tshabalala-Msimang and Mkhize, saying, "There was no dispute but a lack of information." He said there was now a "clear understanding" of how the matter was to be handled (BuaNews/AllAfrica.com, 10/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.