The Patriotic Front ( PF) Government is being hypocritical to demonize Lesbians and gays because this current government is receiving funds from the Global Fund, who have a strong non-discrimination policy.
The Ministry of Health and the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) are the lead recipient of the USD270 million Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
As part of the conditionalities, the Government, through the Ministry of Finance are supposed to provide services what they call key populations – gays and Lesbians.
Consequently, over the years since the PF government started receiving these funds, they have established special clinics at all major health health facilities to cater for gays and Lesbians.
“At UTH we actually have a Tuesday clinic for Gays and Lesbians to access Sexual and reproductive services such as lubricants,” a medical source from the institution has hinted.
See attached definition of key populations by the Global Fund.
Zambia Received USD 270m From The Global Fund
October 2, 2018
THE Global Fund has given Zambia a USD 270 million grant towards the fight for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for the period January 2018 to December, 2020. The funds will be disbursed to the country’s two principal recipients (PR) – the Ministry of Health and the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ).
The confirmation of the grant award took place at a signing ceremony at Taj Pamodzi hotel in Lusaka, on 16th January, 2018 witnessed by Minister of Finance, Mr Felix Mutati, Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, Global Fund Head of Grant Management- Mark Eddington, UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan and CHAZ Executive Director, Mrs. Karen Sichinga.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kennedy Malama, signed on behalf of the Government PR, the Ministry of Health and Mrs. Sichinga for CHAZ while Mr. Eddington signed for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Speaking before the signing of the grant, Mr Mutati committed to continually increase Government funding to the health sector which he said had been increased by 37% in the 2018 budget. He said Government would continue to prioritise health as a stimulus for economic growth of the country. Mr. Mutati assured the Global Fund of the Zambian Government’s desire to meet its contribution to the Global Fund and the judicious use of donor funds.
Ms. Rogan said if the grant is managed well, Zambia would prevent 80,000 new born infections in the three years of the grant implementation period and save USD 21.2 million on treatment costs while 43,000 unnecessary AIDS – related deaths could be reduced by 40%.
Dr. Chilufya said Government had prioritised health promotion in the Seventh National Development Plan and was grateful to the Global Fund for the grant; part of which would be applied towards strengthening human resource development, supply chain and the procurement of medicines for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
Meanwhile, United States government representative, Lungowe Mwapela, stressed the need for accountability and transparency by the Global Fund principal recipients, CHAZ and MOH, in the utilization of funds.
And Mr. Eddington commended the Zambia Government for maintaining a cordial relationship with the CSOs adding that the Global Fund was ready to support the country, especially in the key population, the youth and children. He added that there is need to see rapid action in improving supply chain.
In giving a vote of thanks, Mrs. Sichinga, acknowledged the contribution that the Global Fund had made to the country’s health sector since its inception in 2002.
Mrs. Sichinga cited the reduction in the HIV prevalence rate, strengthening of the supply chain, upgrading of Medical Stores Limited infrastructure and the establishment of regional hubs, procurement of drugs and other medical and non- medical supplies as some of the achievements that the country had made because of the support of the Global Fund.
She praised the Global Fund for its unique structure and the sound working relationship with its partners. “The Global Fund is a funding mechanism that respects local structures, promotes country ownership and rarely departs from its long term agreements reached with Principal Recipients. The fund is truly dependable and delivers what it promises in the whole funding cycle provided that the investments are utilised in a transparent and accountable manner,” said Mrs. Sichinga.
With the new Global Fund grant in which CHAZ has been awarded a total of US$81 million, Mrs. Sichinga was hopeful that the 300,000 out of the 1.2 million people living with HIV and not receiving ARVs would be initiated on the ART programme. The HIV/TB programmes were allocated US$63.4 million while the malaria control programme was apportioned US$17. 7 million.
Mrs. Sichinga said the grant would help the country achieve its goal of increasing the number of notified cases of new TB episodes and increase the treatment success rate for TB from 87% to at least 90%. She was optimistic that the country is on the right path to achieving the elimination of TB.
About the Global Fund
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created in 2002 with the purpose of raising funds to respond to the three diseases. The Funds are supported by numerous donors; the private sector, foundations, individuals and donor countries.
At the inception of the Global Fund, the HIV prevalence rate was at 16%. According to the 2016 Zambia Population HIV Impact Assessment, the HIV prevalence rate has since reduced to 12.3%.
CHAZ is the second biggest health provider in the country, after the government. CHAZ works closely with the Government in the delivery of quality health services, especially in the hard-to- reach areas where access to health care services is often a challenge.