Global Fund Observer

Global Fund Observer is the leading independent voice providing insight, analysis and opinion about the Global Fund. For authoritative and credible explanations about the policies, practices and procedures at the Secretariat, to insider information about Global Fund Board meetings, to real stories capturing the impact and role of the Global Fund at the country level, subscribe to our free twice-monthly newsletter.

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The Global Fund’s partnership with Heineken was a hot topic of conversation the past couple of weeks on blogs and in the Twittersphere. A member of the Global Fund Board from Norway announced that he was opposed to the partnership. “The Norwegian authorities cannot support this type of partnership with an alcohol company. This is not compatible with our development policy,” he said.


Peter Sands will assume his new duties as Executive Director of the Global Fund in mid-March. Meanwhile, Sands has given an interview with Devex, and spoken at a conference in Bangkok. Sands touched on several topics, including taxes in implementing countries; innovative finance mechanisms; the three diseases; and global health security. In the process, Sands has raised issues that suggest he may be getting ready to take the Global Fund in some new directions.


An investigation conducted by the Office of the Inspector General found that medicines worth almost $200,000 bought using funds from two Global Fund grants were lost due to theft and leakage at a central warehouse managed by a principal recipient in the Central African Republic. The medicines consisted mostly of artemisinin-based combination therapies, but there were also some antiretrovirals. In addition to a large theft in the fourth quarter of 2016, small quantities of medicines regularly went missing over the 17-month period covered by the investigation. The PR, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, took issue with some of the OIG’s findings.


An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General has identified $62,557 in non-compliant expenditures in a TB grant to Kenya. The expenditures stem from irregularities related to training events and other meetings. Two employees of the National TB, Leprosy and Lung Disease Program, the agency implementing the grant, have been disciplined.


Staff from the National Tuberculosis Control Program in Bangladesh falsified documents to support training-related expenditures, according to an investigation conducted by the Office of the Inspector General. The NTP is principal recipient for a TB grant. This is not the first time that it has come under scrutiny.


If U.S. President Donald Trump had his way, $425 million would be cut from the United States’ planned $1.35 billion contribution to the Global Fund for the next fiscal year, 1 October 2018 to 31 March 2019. All told, the administration’s proposed budget contains cuts of over $1 billion for global AIDS programs, but it has little or no chance of becoming law.


In what may be its final TB and HIV grants from the Global Fund, Thailand aims to boost services for key populations. It will also improve sub-national planning and provincial coordination of HIV and TB programs as part of Thailand’s preparation for transition. The Board approved the grants in December 2017 after Thailand revised and resubmitted its TB/HIV funding request.


The Wits Health Consortium will continue in its role as principal recipient for the Southern African Regional TB in the Mining Sector Program, thanks to the renewal of a multi-country TB grant. TB prevalence in mining areas is 3–7 times that of the general population.


When President Trump took office, one of his first actions was to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, also known as the “global gag rule.” The policy, invoked by every Republican administration since 1984, requires that foreign NGOs receiving U.S. funding for family planning programs not use their non-U.S. funding to provide abortion services, or even present abortion as one of the options. But Trump extended the reach of the policy to cover all forms of health programming, not just family planning. Many outreach programs provided by NGOs have had to close. 


In our first “OF INTEREST” feature, we draw attention to an article from IRIN, the humanitarian news agency, on the challenges of providing HIV services in a conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine; and an article on the website of International Health Policies on roadside drug vendors in Cameroon. We plan to include OF INTEREST features in GFO from time to time.


Applicants from 55 countries on multiple continents are eligible to respond to two calls for proposals launched by the 7% Initiative. The initiative, which provides technical assistance, has budgeted €10 million for projects funded through the calls.