GLOBAL FUND’S NEW TB AND MALARIA GRANT TO NORTH KOREA
On 23 January 2020, the Global Fund announced that it had reached agreement with partners for a consolidated grant for tuberculosis and malaria in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Grant implementation began in January 2020, the Global Fund’s website says. There will be different grant implementers for different components of the grant: for the drug-susceptible TB and malaria components the implementers will be UNICEF and the World Health Organization. The multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) component will be implemented by the Eugene Bell Foundation, a U.S.-based foundation that provides medical humanitarian assistance to rural DPRK, and focuses on MDR-TB.
In February 2018, the Global Fund announced its decision to “not go ahead” with new grants to the DPRK “due to serious concerns arising from the unique operating environment that prevent the Global Fund from being able to provide the Board with the required level of assurance and risk management at this time”. In the same announcement the Board noted that the DPRK remained eligible for Global Fund financing, and said it hoped “to re-engage with DPRK when the operating environment allows the access and oversight required”.
Years earlier, in 2005, the Global Fund cancelled a TB grant to DPRK “after extensive negotiations failed to resolve the remaining obstacles to grant signing,” the Executive Director said in his address to the 10th Board Meeting (GF/B10/3).
The Global Fund’s news release says of the new consolidated grant that “the Global Fund is confident that partners can serve more people affected by tuberculosis and malaria, and achieve required levels of assurance that the grant is being implemented effectively.”
TERG THEMATIC REVIEW ON SUSTAINABILITY, TRANSITION AND CO-FINANCING POLICY
On 31 January 2020, the Global Fund published a thematic review by the Technical Evaluation Reference Group (TERG) of the operationalization of the Fund’s Sustainability, Transition and Co-financing (STC) policy. The STC policy was established in 2016; the TERG review was conducted in 2019. The policy outlines principles of engagement between the Global Fund and implementing countries to strengthen the sustainability of programs and support successful transitions from Global Fund financing. The review explores the initial impact of the policy across a wide variety of thematic areas at the country and corporate levels, the Global Fund’s news release says, and highlights initial efforts to implement the policy. It also provides insights into ways in which the implementation of the policy might be improved, providing recommendations to the Fund, to implementing countries, and to technical partners.
(Editor’s notes: The GFO will publish a more detailed analysis of the review in the next edition.)
UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS
In the February 3 edition of the International Health Policies newsletter (IHP News #558), Dr Renzo Guinto has written an article called ‘UHC in the age of the coronavirus,’ in which he discusses the tensions between the aspirational idea of universal health coverage and the realities of the ‘securitization’ of health. WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had previously expressed UHC and global health security as “two sides of the same coin” – but in the current climate of urgency and fear surrounding the Wuhan-based coronavirus outbreak, Dr Guinto says, the two concepts “hugely diverge in terms of purpose and principles”.