USD 276 of the 300 million budget will be devoted to core activities of the Global Fund which have been orientated in the direction brought about by the Fund’s new strategy. The difference of USD 24 million has been earmarked for priority activities established for 2017.
The Secretariat has proposed to continue the USD 900 million three-year operating expense budget for the 2017-2019 period. This will allow the Secretariat to maintain the lower ceiling set for its key operational expense ratio adopted in 2015.
Two new components have been added to the Global Fund’s planning structures.
- Formal planning for strategy implementation: The Secretariat details the strategic drivers and key milestones required to deliver on strategic objectives. The Fund is aiming to support planning for strategic priorities and forming a framework for management oversight, staffing, skills, process and budget required for implementation, reporting and monitoring.
- Project Management Office: The PMO was created to further improve management and integration of crosscutting projects and to support the monitoring of major initiatives critical for successful strategy implementation.
Strategic objectives identified
Through formal planning for strategy implementation, activities and major initiatives required, the Fund aims to deliver some key strategic objectives:
Maximize impact Against HIV, TB and malaria
Priority activities the Fund intends to implement in achieving this objective include planning collaborative impact modelling workshops with UNAIDS and priority countries from 2017 onwards to optimize program design. A similar process is planned with technical partners for TB and malaria and will be pilot tested and implemented in 2016-2017.
An initiative has been launched in close collaboration with technical partners to design and implement differentiated care delivery models. Pilots of quality improvement approaches began in 2016, with evaluation, economic analysis, and collection of lessons learned planned for 2017.
Additionally, the Secretariat has significantly increased human resources dedicated to challenging operating environment portfolios. Implementation of the Challenging Operating Environment Policy, facilitating knowledge sharing cross country teams, the adaptation of operational policies and the strengthening of partnerships will be a key area of focus for the Fund in 2017.
Build Resilient & Sustainable Systems for Health
Insofar as priority activities identified for achieving this objective, new initiatives have been launched to achieve the ambitious goals of the strategic objective to build resilient and sustainable systems for health-RSSH. Development of the Global Fund’s Supply Chain Investment Strategy aimed to support in-country partners will be refined and finalized, and a new approach to Supply Chain Assurance piloted. The availability and quality of data is key for maximizing impact and to address identified weaknesses, the Fund has designed a comprehensive Program and Data Quality Strategy pairing its long-term investments in data within countries, to a differentiated Secretariat approach to program and data quality assurance. The report on the budget and work-plan for 2017 stated that the Secretariat will develop a modular evaluation approach, tailored to key country needs and risks and that budgets for evaluations will be integrated into grants.
In addition, The Fund intends to strengthen community systems by updating policies to allow for funding of community organizations, and providing tools for implementers to better plan and cost their activities. The Fund has stated that partnerships, targeted advocacy, and technical support to strengthen the knowledge base and tools for effective community systems and responses will be a priority.
The 2017 work-plan and budget narrative states that the Fund will work at country level in coordination with partners (including WHO & USAID) to harmonize Human Resources for Health-HRH support in 5 priority countries to eliminate duplication and imbalances in external HRH support.
Promote and Protect Human Rights & Gender Equality
2017 will see the Fund emphasize collaboration with its partners to carry out studies in 15-20 countries to address major data gaps that will inform investment decisions. These studies will identify human rights (and gender)-related barriers to services, including for key populations. The Fund has stated it plans to work closely with partners to agree on best practices and integrate these into impact and financing models.
The Fund will continue to promote the engagement and participation of affected communities in health governance in 2017. Activities to document community engagement and the development of an action plan for promoting demand for engagement and accountability are to continue as is improving data and data systems regarding key populations.
The Fund has stated that it will further emphasize its response to gender related barriers, including gender equality by increasing Secretariat and in-country capacity on gender, and strengthening accountability to addressing gender and age disparities, including the integration of sex and age disaggregation into data systems for better decision-making, a problem which the Fund has been stating it will address for some time.
Mobilize Increased Resources
The support to countries in their efforts to increase domestic investments in health will continue with the implementation of the Domestic Financing Strategy into 2017 in 10 countries, with launches in up to 5 additional priority countries in Africa.
In the work-plan, the Fund reiterates its renewed support and will continue to incentivize governments to invest domestic resources in health in order to complement Global Fund investments and maximize impact. The Fund’s Investment Case’ for the 2017-2019 replenishment is based on leveraging USD $3 in domestic financing for every USD $1 contributed by the Global Fund.
Wambo.org, the online tool used by the Global Fund and partners to strengthen sustainable procurement practices, increase transparency across the market, shorten lead times, and enable critical savings, will play an even bigger role in Global Fund operations in 2017.
Staff make up over 50% of the total 2017 budget. Professional fees and travel show notable decreases from last year.
Information in this article comes from the Board paper GF/B36/05B presented at the 36th meeting of the Global Fund Board on 16-17 November 2016 in Montreux, Switzerland. All Board documents will be made public on the Global Fund’s website.