Let’s continue to lead by example – Ireland and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria

Category:
March 16, 2011

The Irish Forum for Global Health (IFGH) would like to express its continued support for the work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS TB and Malaria, despite recent international media coverage on misappropriation of funds.  IFGH strongly encourages the Irish government to continue to lead by example by not suspending its funding and ensuring it meets its commitments to the Global Fund.

The Global Fund is the world’s main financier of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programmes globally and is already facing a $7—8 billion funding shortfall because of the economic downturn – this shortfall represents a huge cost in terms of human lives. It is imperative that particularly at this time, governments do not suspend their commitments or renege on their promise of funding so the crucial work of saving lives of those affected by HIV, TB and malaria can continue and increase.

The IFGH is satisfied that the Global Fund has adequate governance structures in place and is dealing with this matter in a rigorous and effective manner.

The issue at hand

In mid-January, a media article published by Associated Press (AP) re-reported findings from the Global Fund Inspector General’s Office (the Global Fund’s independent unit set up in 2005 to fight fraud) published online in October 2010.  The report highlighted the misappropriation of funds in Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania and Zambia, and a number of media outlets misrepresented the extent of the misuse of funds. The government of Germany subsequently suspended their funding to the Global Fund and Irish Aid released a statement saying a decision would be made on funding based on analysis of the situation after May 2011 (Irish Aid, 2011).

In October 2010, the Global Fund Inspector General reported the misuse of  US$34 million (representing 0 .3 percent of the total amount of $13 billion disbursed by the Global Fund to countries so far). This was presented to the Board of the Global Fund, of which Ireland is a member in December 2010.

The Global Fund is tacking the issue forcefully and openly and immediately suspended the grants to the four countries concerned, and in keeping with its zero-tolerance policies on fraud and corruption has set up a number of mechanisms to investigate the current issue and further strengthen financial and audit systems. Encouraging to donors, including Irish Aid who have been involved in supporting the Global Fund since its inception, is the transparency, accountability and openness of the Global Fund which ensure that misappropriation issues are raised immediately.  “We would contend that we do not have any corruption problems that are significantly different in scale or nature to any other international financing institution,” said Fund spokesperson Jon Liden .  In this regard, the main difference between the Global Fund and other international financial institutions is the transparency in reporting its findings.

More recently in a statement following a substantive  Multilateral Aid Review, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) announced among its findings, that the Global Fund was one of 9 international organizations with an excellent track record for delivering results and would receive increased funding in the future (Global Fund, 2011; DFID, 2011).

Saving lives – what the Global Fund does

From its founding through December 2009, the Global Fund Board approved proposals totaling US$ 19.2 billion, and disbursed US$ 10 billion for HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria control efforts.

At the end of December 2009, programs financed by the Global Fund were providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) to 2.5 million people living with HIV and AIDS. The Global Fund has provided 790,000 HIV-positive pregnant women with treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, as well as 4.5 million basic care and support services to orphans and other children made vulnerable by AIDS.

Through 2009, programs funded by the Global Fund have provided treatment to 6 million people who had active TB. The Global Fund provides 63 percent of the external financing for TB and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) control efforts in low- and middle income countries.

By the end of 2009, Global Fund-supported programs had distributed 104 million insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) to prevent malaria. (Global Fund, 2010). In Ethiopia alone, the number of people who die from malaria has been halved in just three years through the distribution of nearly 20 million insecticide-treated bed nets and widespread use of antimalaria drugs (Global Fund, 2009).

Ireland and the Global Fund

Ireland has long shown leadership, globally and in Europe, particularly on such issues as tackling HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence, aid effectiveness and hunger and malnutrition.  Irish Aid is held in high regard by OECD and developing country partners.  Clearly embedded in Irish Aid guiding policies is the recommendation for Irish Aid to support and engage with and [provide] funding to the Global Fund (Irish Aid, 2007a).

Over the last three years Ireland has provided €39,650,000 to the Global Fund, as core support. (Irish Aid, 2011).  However, Ireland did not make a renewed contribution to the Global Fund in the replenishment meeting held in October  2010.  In addition,  the Government has not yet met its current commitment to the Global Fund. Ireland has pledged €90 million over three years, and has thus far only paid in €44,050,000.  The €45,950,000 shortfall was due in 2010, but the period of payment will be extended by amendment of the original funding agreement signed in April 2008. (IFGH, 2010). These funds are vital to the Global Fund.

In 2003, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister Tom Kitt made a statement “I want Ireland to lead by example, allocating a very significant level of resources to the Global Fund and encouraging others to do likewise. HIV/AIDS is a critical development chal/uploads/files/Can Ireland continue to lead by example_final.pdflenge, the greatest which we face in today’s world, and the Global Fund is a key mechanism for responding to it”. “We are absolutely committed to the Global Fund”, the Minister said, “and we will be continuing our support in future years. We have also been engaged in intensive contact with our EU colleagues over recent days with a view to encouraging generous commitments of support and maximising the overall EU contribution to the Global Fund”. (Irish Aid, 2003).

Ireland has been one of the strongest advocates and supporters of this Fund since its inception. It is important that we work with the Global Fund to address issues of corruption head-on. It is also more important than ever, that despite the economic downturn and challenges we are facing in Ireland, that we continue to be a strong supporter and advocate of the Fund.

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Nadine Ferris France (Dublin)
Irish Forum for Global health
Email: nadinefrance@gmail.com
Tel: + 353 (0)86 8192324 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              + 353 (0)86 8192324 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              + 353 (0)86 8192324      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              + 353 (0)86 8192324      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              + 353 (0)86 8192324      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              + 353 (0)86 8192324      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Web: www.globalhealth.ie

Notes for Editor

The aim of the Irish Forum for Global Health is to contribute to improvement in the health of individuals and populations globally by creating networks that will promote research and education and advocate for investment in global health. The Irish Forum for Global Health believe that health is a basic human right and strive to achieve equity of access and quality in healthcare for all. We promote gender equality. Through partnership and collaboration we aim for sustainable development. Through capacity building and sharing expertise we aim to maintain the highest standards in education and research. Learning can best be achieved through partnerships and networks that pool resources and expertise. We believe that learning should be a two-way stream between the more and less developed countries and between richer and poorer communities

References/Further Reading

(DfID, 2011) Multilateral Aid Revew: Taking forward the findings  of the UK Multilateral Aid Review: accessed online, 9 March 2011 at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-DFID/Who-we-work-with/Multilateral-agencies/Multilateral-Aid-Review/

(GFO, 2001) GFO Issue 14: Donor Timidy: accessed online, 4 February 2011 at http://www.aidspan.org/index.php?issue=140&article=1

(Lancet, 2011) Supporting the Global Fund to fight fraud: accessed online, 4 February 2011 at http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)60143-8/fulltext

(Irish Aid, 2003) Minister Kitt pledges further support for Global Fund on HIV / AIDS: accessed online, 4 February 2011 at http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/latest_news.asp?article=198, July 2003

(Irish Aid, 2005) Minister of State Lenihan re-affirms Ireland’s commitment in the global fight against HIV/AIDS: accessed online, 4 February 2011 at  http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/latest_news.asp?article=518, March 2005

(Irish Aid, 2007) Ireland Announces Increase in its Contribution to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria: accessed online, 4 February 2011 at http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/latest_news.asp?article=1100, August 2007

(Irish Aid, 2007a) Value for Money and Policy Review of Irish Aid Support to HIV and AIDS, 2000–2007: accessed online, 4 February 2011 at http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/Uploads/ValueforMoneyHIVFinalReportPrinter.pdf

(Irish Aid, 2008) Minister of State Michael Kitt announces new partnership to fight killer diseases;AIDS, TB & Malaria: accessed online, 4 February 2011 at http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/latest_news.asp?article=1220, April 2008

(The Global Fund 2009): Fighting malaria in Ethiopia, The Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria, 2009

(The Global Fund 2010): Innovation and Impact Results Summary: accessed online, 4 February 2011 at http://www.theglobalfund.org/documents/replenishment/2010/Progress_Report_Summary_2010_en.pdf

(The Global Fund 2011): UK Minister says Global Fund has excellent track record and will receive increased funding http://eforums.healthdev.org/read/messages?id=29396#29396

(Irish Aid, 2011) Irish Aid statement on the Report of the Inspector General of the Global Fund : accessed online, 4 February 2011 at http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/latest_news.asp?article=1743 February 2011

(RED, 2011) responds to Global Fund fraud reports, : accessed online, 4 February 2011 The journal.iehttp://www.thejournal.ie/readme/red-responds-to-global-fund-fraud-reports/

(Irish Examiner, 2011a) The Irish Examiner Corruption eating up two-thirds of Aids fund : accessed online, 4 February 2011 http://www.examiner.ie/ireland/corruption-eating-up-two-thirds-of-aids-fund-143097.html  , 25 January 2011

(Gates Foundation, 2011) Foundation Support for the Global Fund

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/press-releases/pages/support-for-the-global-fund-110124.aspx

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