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Sweden’s resumed health support cheers stakeholders

ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka
THE Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) and the Health Workers Union of Zambia (HWUZ) have welcomed the resumption of aid to Zambia’s health sector by the Swedish Government.
In 2009, Sweden froze US$33 million in aid for HIV/AIDS and other health programmes in response to allegations that some Ministry of Health officials misapplied US$2 million.
ZMA president Aaron Mujajati said in an interview yesterday that the government should be commended for winning back the trust of the donors and the Sweden government in particular.
Dr Mujajati said the resumption of funding to the health sector shows that the management system in the health sector has improved.
He said accountability in the health sector has improved and that Government through the Ministry of Health has won the confidence of the donors.
Dr Mujajati urged other donors that had suspended funding to the health sector to emulate the Swedish government by resuming funding.
And Health Workers Union of Zambia (HWUZ) secretary-general Lewis Mukosha said: “This is pleasing to hear that Sweden has resumed funding of the health sector because without external funding, the health sector would be doomed.
“We are a developing country which needs help in terms of aid,” Mr Mukosha said.
He said in a separate interview that this should be a turning point for the health sector in as far as prudent expenditure of donor funds is concerned.
He said the withdrawal of funding to the health sector by some donors had adverse repercussions.
Mr Mukosha said the US$48 million grant to government for the implementation of reproductive, maternal, neo-natal, child and adolescent health programmes should be used prudently.
He said the recipients in Eastern and Southern provinces should ensure that the money reaches the intended beneficiaries.
The Swedish government has cited improved financial controls and anti-corruption measures by President Lungu’s administration as the reason for starting to give aid directly to the Ministry of Health.

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