Established as a partnership in global health, the Global Fund works closely with a wide diversity of partners –implementing governments, donors, civil society, international development organizations, the private sector and communities living with and affected by the diseases. This partnership model actively supports country-owned approaches that develop and implement effective, evidence-based programs to respond to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Posted on: 20 September 2012
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At a meeting on 13-14 September, the Board of the Global Fund adopted a new approach to funding grants that will significantly improve effectiveness and strategic investment. It will give implementers more predictable and reliable funding. It will make applying for grants simpler, with quicker feedback and on-going dialogue. Perhaps most important, it will further promote a partnership model that promises continuity and sustainability for the long-term. The Board will consider further specifics at its next meeting in November.
The new funding model is a big change. It replaces the rounds-based system, which worked well for many years, as it spurred multi-sector partnerships and encouraged each applicant to identify and quantify the need for treatment and prevention. By 2011, however, the Board agreed that the Global Fund needed to invest more strategically, to make the most of its resources and maximize the impact of its grants. That need was made more acute by the international financial crisis. A new funding model with a more active approach to influencing investments will better direct resources toward the most affected countries and populations, and identify interventions that work best.
Before the Board Meeting, extensive consultation sessions considered many aspects of a new funding model, with the aim of settling on a process that is both effective and fair. These sessions stressed the need for a simpler and more predictable process, and also to the need to encourage a full expression of demand in investment cases from applicants. The Board agreed to apportion funds to groups of countries, and then distribute them to individual countries in two ways. In one, each country gets a specific funding range, devised by a formula based on disease burden, ability to pay and other factors. In the other, funding incentivizes ambitious investment cases. The Board is expected to consider the method for devising the groups, and for devising the funding, at its meeting in November.
Linda Mafu recently began a new position at the Global Fund, as head of the Civil Society and Political Advocacy department. A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Linda has dedicated her career to fighting discrimination and stigma. As a prominent AIDS activist, she spearheaded an effort to secure a plan of action in South Africa at a time when many leaders were still denying the existence of the pandemic. Before joining the Global Fund, she served as Executive Director of World AIDS Campaign. Prior to that, she worked with Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa.
“My passion, and I call it ‘the fire in my belly,’ is to ensure that everyone has the quality of life that gives them the freedom to be the best that they can be,” said Linda. “My activism started when I was a child. We were fighting against a system of apartheid.” Linda studied community development at the University of Cape Town, learning about the complex and inter-connected nature of social change in any community. “It opened the space for me to understand the HIV issue in South Africa,” she said. “When I started my studies, two of my closest friends had died of AIDS and left children that were as young as mine, 2 years old.” At that time, 900 people were dying every single day in South Africa. “We organized ourselves and I joined the Treatment Action Campaign. I learned about the science of HIV, treatment. I learned about community mobilization.” She later moved from the Treatment Action Campaign to the World AIDS Campaign, where she worked on advocacy throughout sub-Saharan Africa. “That was a great opportunity. We set up a civil society platform that would respond at national and regional levels. I had to learn to lobby people at the African Union.
And then the Global Fund literally entered into our lives and with it the hope that we could change the HIV picture both at the country level but also within the African continent. It was clear that the landscape was changing. We had a voice.” Taking her new position at the Global Fund is another big change. She recently moved to Geneva with her husband and four children. Many friends and old colleagues told her they hoped she would be able to remain an activist, and that she will “shake up things” at the Global Fund. Her new colleagues are counting on that.
The Global Fund recently made changes to the standard terms and conditions of grant agreements, and adopted a code of conduct for recipients. The changes were made as part of an effort to improve assurance and risk management of programs that are supported with grant funds. They are intended to help protect recipients and protect the Global Fund from illegal activity, such as money laundering. A letter describing the changes, and what they mean, is being sent to Principal Recipients. The changes require compliance from all recipients of Global Fund funding. Follow-up from Fund Portfolio Managers is expected to help explain the changes and what has to be done.
The recipient code of conduct establishes the principles and standards of conduct required of all recipients of Global Fund grant funds, including Principal Recipients, sub-recipients, sub-sub-recipients, Country Coordinating Mechanisms, and procurement agents. The terms of the recipient code of conduct are consistent with the principles and requirements of any legal grant agreement between the Global Fund and each Principal Recipient. The full recipient code of conduct is available on the Global Fund’s website.
At its meeting last week, the Board extended the mandate of the Global Fund to host the Affordable Medicines Facility–malaria for another year after the end of its pilot phase in December. AMFm is being piloted in Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, where it has subsidized nearly 300 million artemisinin-based combination therapies, the most effective treatment for malaria. AMFm subsidizes the commercial sale of ACTs so that they can be made available and affordable in many areas, in addition to government-backed distribution of the medicine that is usually free, but is not as widely available. A final evaluation report is expected to be released in the coming weeks. By extending the mandate for hosting AMFm, the Board recognized the need for an orderly transition to the next phase, regardless of where the financing comes from. The Global Fund did not finance the pilot, but hosted it. Future financing for AMFm has not yet been determined. The Global Fund Board is expected to consider at its next meeting in November the future of the initiative, and whether it should be expanded, modified, or suspended.
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