IRIN provides some important quotes from the Dutch Government and SIDA. Interesting to see the emphasis on the "Dutch taxpayer". If only Zambian's had the same rage over the plunder of national resources :
The governments of the Netherlands and Sweden announced they had suspended aid after a whistleblower alerted Zambia's Anti-Corruption Commission [ACC] to the embezzlement of over US$2 million from the health ministry by top government officials. "The misuse of Dutch taxpayers' money is unacceptable," said Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders in a statement, adding that Dutch aid would be put on hold until the ACC and Zambia's Auditor General released the findings from their investigations.Donors fund 55 percent of the country's health budget. The Dutch government, the largest supporter of Zambia's tuberculosis (TB) programme, contributes about 13 million euros (US$18 million) annually to rural healthcare, preventing malaria, TB and HIV, and training medical staff. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) had earmarked 88 million kroner (about $12 million) for Zambia's health ministry before the scandal broke, but will now await the ACC's findings before releasing the funds. "SIDA will not accept any abuse of development money," Charlotta Norrby, head of SIDA in Zambia, told local media.
Update (29 May 2009) : Health Minister Kapembwa Simbao earlier today laid out the likely impact of aid suspension on the health system :
During a joint briefing in Lusaka on the financing of the health sector after withdrawal of aid by some donors, Simbao said K24 billion was required every month to meet hospital requirements in the country."District hospitals will be the most affected since their allocation amounts to K16 billion per month and these funds is meant for feeding of patients, operations, HIV programmes, nursing and clinical duties, among other programmes. So you can see the difficulties that we will undergo through," Simbao said. "So we are considering reducing or suspending funding to certain areas without causing damage and we have in mind items like seminars and others that can be pushed forward to next year."