Government is expected to appoint a board of directors for the National Aids Council (NAC) within the next month, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has said.
The previous board was dissolved in March this year.
Once a new one has been appointed, it will then appoint a substantive chief executive to replace the long serving Dr Tapuwa Magure who left in December last year.
Responding to questions from stakeholders who felt the NAC board was taking long to be reconstituted, Dr Moyo said Government was following due procedure in the appointment of board members.
“We are working flat out to ensure that the board is well represented through following stipulated procedures,” he said.
“We anticipate that the board would be fully constituted for appointment within the next month.”
Since the departure of Dr Magure, NAC has so far seen two directors taking up the CEO role in acting capacities.
Pressure groups continue to advocate for the quick appointment of both the board and the CEO, arguing that lack of leadership at such levels impedes efficiency and effectiveness in resource allocation and usage.
The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) is the latest organisation to call for a speedy reconstitution of the NAC board.
A number of other organisations, including those representing people living with HIV and Aids, petitioned Parliament earlier this month with the same concern.
CWGH executive director Mr Itai Rusike said NAC appeared to be failing to execute its mandate of late, as evidenced by a number of allegations, including misuse of public funds, maladministration, corruption and nepotism.
People on treatment are also reportedly battling to access enough drugs.
“The minister needs to urgently appoint board members and a substantive CEO for this organisation to make sure that it functions normally and makes important policy decisions that address the current burden of disease, integration of care and enable the country to attain developmental and universal health coverage goals,” said Mr Rusike.
He said apart from reconstitution of the board, NAC must also provide a comprehensive review of its work, 20 years on.
Mr Rusike said the Aids Levy was a public purse, which must always be accounted for.
NAC is an organisation that came into being through an Act of Parliament in 1999 to coordinate and facilitate the national multi-sectoral response to HIV and Aids.
Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter