LUSAKA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Stakeholders in Zambia on Wednesday expressed anger after an audit revealed glaring abuse of funds donated by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
According to the audit report of Global Fund grants to Zambia, conducted in June last year, over 1 million U.S. dollars worth of HIV and malaria drugs were stolen from a government agency that purchases and stocks drugs and ended up being sold commercially in Zambia and some neighboring countries.
The report further revealed that antiretroviral drugs were out of stock for almost a month in 10 percent of health facilities while 77 percent of the facilities visited had expired drugs.
The report also revealed that 40 percent of facilities had expired malaria drugs, 27 percent had expired TB drugs, with the value expired antiretroviral drugs valued at 4 million dollars in 2016.
"What the report on Global Fund has revealed in terms of abuse of the global fund is clear display of lack of morality in our leaders and lack of social shame among them, because by now, heads would have rolled," said Macdonald Chipenzi, executive director of the Governance, Elections, Advocacy and Research Services, a local advocacy group.
He said the minister responsible for health should resign in the face of the revelation of the report, and be investigated in the scam.
Laura Miti, coordinator of the Alliance for Community Action, an advocacy group, said it was unfortunate that hundreds of Zambians were deprived of the much needed drugs due to stealing of drugs by officials in the Ministry of Health.
"Donors have tried hard to keep our people alive but powerful Zambians are killing them by stealing the drugs," she said.
Lewis Mwape, executive director of the Zambia Council for Social Development, said there was need for stakeholders to find a solution to the problem of abuse of public resources in the country.
He said it was unfortunate that vulnerable people were deprived of drugs and the right to life because of greedy public officers.
According to the report, since 2003, the Global Fund has committed 1,029,768,924 dollars and disbursed 991,295,065 dollars in Zambia.
This is not the first time grants from the Global Fund have been misappropriated in Zambia. In 2010, the Global Fund suspended more than 300 million dollars in health assistance, citing concerns of corruption.