22 February 2023
The mass provision of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) is the single most effective intervention in preventing malaria, and in reducing cases and deaths. The Global Fund provides 63% of all international financing for malaria programs. Between 2018-2020, the Global Fund invested over US$1.2 billion in LLIN mass campaigns globally and distributed 516 million LLINs.
A major finding by the OIG in this investigation was that two critical data sets from the Guinea LLIN mass distribution campaign were fraudulently manipulated. These comprise the household counting database, which records the total number of beneficiaries across Guinea and the number of LLINs needed to cover them, as well as data tracking the distribution of LLINs to beneficiaries. The OIG also found that insufficient controls and a lack of clear accountability for data accuracy contributed to fraudulent data being used in the campaign.
Such widespread data manipulation contributes to an environment in which commodity diversion becomes possible and may go undetected. In the case of Guinea, this lack of controls created the risk of fraudulently inflated population counts leading to the allocation of more LLINs to certain areas than the actual number of LLINs required. The investigation itself was initiated after 117,500 LLINs were allegedly diverted from the 2019 Guinea LLIN mass campaign to neighboring Mali, which OIG confirmed included over 10,000 nets financed by the Global Fund. Although the value of these diverted Global Fund nets is not material, the widespread data manipulation suggests a risk that the true number could be higher.