The Global Fund Board has approved three of the seven Round 7 proposals whose original rejection had been appealed by the applicants. The newly approved proposals are a malaria proposal from Azerbaijan that will cost $2.5 million over the first two years, a TB proposal from Cambodia that will cost $8.7 million, and a TB proposal from Zambia that will cost $4.1 million. The approvals are subject to a number of requests for clarification being successfully responded to in a timely manner.
To be eligible for appeal, a proposal has to be have been turned down for funding in two consecutive rounds. Thirty proposals met this criterion in Round 7, but appeals were only filed for seven of these. The unsuccessful appeals were from Cameroon (two proposals, one for malaria and one for TB), Colombia (HIV/AIDS), and Sudan Northern Sector (HIV/AIDS).
The appeals were reviewed by an Independent Appeal Panel, comprised of two members of the TRP, together with an expert designated by Roll Back Malaria, an expert designated by the Stop TB Partnership, and an expert designated by UNAIDS, all of whom served in their personal capacities. The two TRP members had not been primary or secondary reviewers of the proposals under appeal.
With respect to the successful appeal from Azerbaijan, the Independent Appeal Panel found that the TRP had made a significant error in understanding the epidemiological data supplied by the applicant.
With respect to the successful appeal from Cambodia, the panel found that the TRP had erred in concluding that the weaknesses identified were sufficient to cause the proposal not to be approved. The Appeal Panel deemed that the applicant had already provided sufficient information in its original proposal and had addressed the comments raised by the TRP regarding the Round 6 proposal adequately.
With respect to the successful appeal from Zambia, the panel found that the TRP had erred in concluding that the budget and workplan were insufficiently detailed. The presentation of the budget was not in the format that the TRP had expected; but the underlying data were adequate.
As a general comment, the panel recommended that in future, the TRP separate weakness into two categories: those that the TRP considers to be ‘major weaknesses', and those that are ‘minor weaknesses' where a proposal could still be recommended for funding unless on balance there are too many of them.