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HEALTH: Global Fund boosts essential services

JOHANNESBURG, 4 September 2012 (IRIN) - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria has announced that it has approved almost US$420 million to support essential services as part of its stop-gap Transitional Funding Mechanism (TFM), which was introduced late last year.

In November 2011, due to a lack of donations, the Global Fund was forced to cancel its Round 11 of funding. The TFM was introduced to prevent interruptions in essential prevention, treatment and care services. 

Last week, the Fund announced that 45 new grant applications, from countries such as Burundi, Malawi and Swaziland, have been approved under the TFM. A further 11 proposals, which include one multi-country proposal from the Western Pacific region, are set to be revised and resubmitted.

If approved, these 11 proposals could represent up to $91.2 million in additional allocations, meaning that up to $511 million could be awarded under the bridging mechanism.

Emphasis on TB

Almost 25 percent of this combined total will go towards TB, which represents a significant increase from the average 16 percent of funds allocated for TB since the Global Fund was created in 2002, according to a StopTB Partnership statement released in response to this week’s announcement.

TB proposals also received better marks from the Fund’s Technical Review Panel than those under malaria or HIV, according to the StopTB partnership.

“We are deeply gratified that support to applicants by the WHO [World Health Organization] Stop TB Department, the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat, and partners under the umbrella of TBTEAM [The TB Technical Assistance Mechanism] helped produce these excellent results,” said Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership.

Unlike regular grants, which can run for up to five years, those awarded under the TFM will be limited to two years, by which time the Fund is expected to have launched its new funding model.

Five proposals denied

At the time of the TFM’s creation in late 2011, G20 upper-middle income countries with less than an extreme disease burden - such as Russia, Mexico and China - were ineligible to apply for grants of the TFM. Even eligible countries had to demonstrate that there were not alternative funders for the programmes in their proposals, and that these programmes would therefore be vulnerable to disruption between 1 January 2012 and 31 March 2014.

But following the financial difficulties of 2011, the Fund has seen a number of new donor commitments. Most recently, the Spanish government announced in July 2012 that it would contribute about $12 million to the Fund; Spain made no contributions to the Global Fund in 2011.

The Fund also saw a windfall in additional resources freed up by China this year. A decision to exclude upper-middle income countries from funding has made the country ineligible for funding after its current Phase 1 grants expire. This decision revoked roughly $1 billion of previously approved but not yet committed Phase 2 funding for China, freeing up this money to be redistributed to other funding recipients, according to the Global Fund.

China has additionally agreed to forgo at least $300 million in Global Fund money that had previously been awarded to it, making further resources available for other countries.

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Theme (s): Care/Treatment - PlusNews, Health & Nutrition, HIV/AIDS (PlusNews),

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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