Global health fund ‘needs substantial overhaul’

Leavitt: 'There's nothing here that can't be fixed' Copyright: Flickr/US Mission Geneva

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The multibillion dollar Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria must review the financial freedom it gives its partner countries, according to an independent review panel.

The financial review, published this week (19 September), made several recommendations to fix the fund’s finances and focus them onto sustainable output.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the "toughly-worded report" says there is little oversight in grant management from either the recipient countries or the fund itself. This stems from a combination of the fund’s aim that countries should ‘own’ their grants, and the fact that many senior government officials in recipient countries regard the fund’s money as "someone else’s responsibility".

The fund was launched in 2002 as an international financier of emergency measures such as delivery of AIDS drugs and bednets to combat malaria, but had recently come under criticism from donors over misuse of some of the grants. This led to the panel’s formation in March.

The review also found that the organisation "is still oriented around getting money out the door" — and must mature into a results-focused institution.

Michael Leavitt, one of the review panel’s co-chairs, said: "The Global Fund must now shift from an organisation responding to an emergency to one capable of a sustained response".

But he added: "There’s nothing here that can’t be fixed".

Other recommendations include increased focus on risk management and putting new technologies, such as mobile phones used for data collection, into practice to help the fund monitor results more easily.

Link to full article in The Wall Street Journal

Link to full report  [1.6MB]

See below for The Global Fund’s video about its activities: