Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria – Some nurses and other hospital staff in Zimbabwe are diverting life-saving anti-retroviral drugs that are supposed to be dispensed for free by public health institutions, to the thriving black market, the state-owned The Herald newspaper reported.

A month’s supply of ARV drugs costs around US$10 on the illicit market, an amount many locals cannot afford.

The Herald said the large population of Zimbabweans living outside the southern African state, who return to their home country on holidays, are the main target for the unscrupulous ARV dealers. 

A nurse at one of Zimbabwe's biggest health facilities, Parirenyatwa Hospital, is reportedly under internal investigation for selling the drugs after related WhatsApp chat messages were leaked to the authorities. 

Last month the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission said it had started monitoring public hospitals and clinics in a bid to curb the theft of medicine at government health facilities for re-sale on the black market.

The commission, led by former high court judge Loice Matanda-Moyo, was last year given the power to arrest suspects. 

African News Agency/ANA