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Zimbabwe VP named health minister after virus graft scandal

Former health minister Obadiah Moyo is suspected of illegally awarding a $20 million contract for coronavirus testing.

FILE: Zimbabwe vice-president Constantino Chiwenga. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's vice president Constantino Chiwenga was appointed health minister on Tuesday, the presidency said, one month after his predecessor was sacked over corruption allegations related to coronavirus testing kits.

Former health minister Obadiah Moyo is suspected of illegally awarding a $20 million contract for coronavirus testing.

He was arrested in June and was freed on bail pending trial.

"President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has noted the urgent need to stabilise, restructure and reform the national health delivery system to better cope with challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic," the presidency said in a statement.

To date the southern African country has recorded 4,075 coronavirus cases including at least 80 deaths - although those figures are believed to be underestimated due to lack of testing.

The pandemic has added pressure on a public health system already verging on collapse, with shortages of basic drugs and equipment and overburdened and underpaid staff.

Most public hospitals are without administrative heads following their dismissal en-masse last month as part of a restructuring exercise, shortly after the former minister was fired.

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