04 June 2015
In this audit of Global Fund strategy in Sudan, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that there was no sustainable plan in place to ensure the long-term success of programs and the transfer of responsibility to national health authorities. The Global Fund is addressing this and putting in place measures to maximize program success in the country as well as reducing the risks of operating in a challenging environment.
The Republic of Sudan has received US$ 365 million from the Global Fund since 2005 with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as the Principal Recipient. Grants are implemented in difficult conditions with regional armed conflict, high staff turnover in the health sector, national institutions that have limited resources, and hard to access key affected populations.
The Sudan portfolio has been placed under the Additional Safeguards Policy since 2005, a policy designed to be temporary. This allows the Global Fund to continue providing services to people with HIV, tuberculosis and malaria while putting in place additional specific fiscal, financial and procurement safeguards to protect grant funds.
The OIG found that despite attempts by the Global Fund and UNDP to help strengthen the national health system, there was no formal transition strategy with concrete timelines. The national health system remains weak and lacks comprehensive financial procedures, accounting software, controls over bank accounts and sub-recipients' use of grant funds. However, following the OIG audit, a set of preliminary objectives and a calendar of activities have been agreed, including workshops to train Ministry of Health staff.
The auditors also noted that although financial risks affecting Global Fund grants have been identified and mitigated, and a number of programmatic and supply chain risks remain. For example, drug quality management is not effective. A recent consignment of HIV commodities and malaria drugs (valued at US$ 1.98 million) was distributed without being quality tested despite being delayed at a customs warehouse for six months in poor storage conditions.
Lastly, the OIG found that the Global Fund had not allowed enough time to address the significant skills and resources gaps at the Ministry of Health before submitting the "Concept Note", a key step in grant making under the Global Fund's new funding model. With a full plan in place to modify issues as they arise on future grant making processes, the Global Fund Secretariat has agreed to improve its operational guidance to ensure that assessments, particularly for countries subject to additional safeguards, are better timed to allow major risks to be sufficiently addressed ahead of signing new grants.
There are currently 3,800 people on antiretroviral treatment in Sudan, 57,200 tuberculosis cases have been identified and treated and 12 million bed nets have been distributed thanks to Global Fund financed programs.
The Office of the Inspector General works to ensure that the Global Fund invests the world's money in the most effective way possible in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Through audits, investigations, oversight and consultancy work, it makes objective and transparent recommendations to promote good practice, reduce risk and condemn abuse.
Established in 2005, the Office of the Inspector General is an independent yet integral part of the Global Fund. It is accountable to the Board through its Audit and Ethics Committee and serves the interests of all Global Fund stakeholders. Its work conforms to the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and the Uniform Guidelines for Investigations of the Conference of International Investigators.
The Office of the Inspector General believes that every dollar counts and has zero tolerance for fraud, corruption and waste. Through its whistle-blowing channels, the Office of the Inspector General encourages all to come forward to point out any irregularities that prevent Global Fund resources from reaching those who need them.