Global Fund calls for bold proposals
Tuesday 30 March 2004
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AFRICA: Global Fund calls for bold proposals

HARARE, 5 March (PLUSNEWS) - The Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has called on governments and NGOs to put forward bold project proposals that stress HIV treatment in the new funding round.

"Round 4 funding is going on right now. The call for proposals went out on 10 January 2004. We currently have at least US $900 million in the Fund for this round, in which we particularly want ambitious proposals for programmes that involve antiretroviral treatment. The amount is likely to grow to around US $1 billion, so my plea here today is to say, 'please apply,'" Christoph Benn, the Fund's director of external affairs told the third annual Pan-African Treatment Access Movement (PATAM) conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, this week.

The US-based Health GAP (Global Access Project) said it was critical that the Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) submitted proposals for Round 4 that were ambitious, technically sound and prioritised the scaling-up of access to treatment if the World Health Organisation's (WHO) goal of three million people on ARVs by 2005 was to be realised.

PATAM brought AIDS activists from across Africa to Harare to discuss how to scale up access to ARVs in Southern Africa.

CCMs - which coordinate proposals sent to the Fund - came under fire at the three-day meeting, where delegates accused some CCMs of suggesting proposals be "less aggressive" and "more modest in terms of funding requests", as well as paying lip-service to the participation of people living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs).

The previous three funding rounds revealed what the Global Fund's Technical Review Panel has referred to as "shyness" in requesting funding to scale up treatment.

This "shyness", according to Health GAP, has been due to many factors, including CCMs' lack of technical support in writing applications and pressure by donors to apply for more modest levels of funding.

"The Global Fund board and secretariat must get serious about prioritising the full participation of NGOs, civil society, and PWAs on CCMs. This will not happen without new requirements for CCM participation, guidance, monitoring and evaluation by the secretariat," insisted Sharonann Lynch of Health GAP.

The deadline for Round 4 proposals is 2 April 2004. Approval of proposals for funding will be announced by June 2004.

Some PATAM delegates expressed scepticism over the sustainability and "predictability" of future funding, particularly with regard to accessing ARVs.

According to Health GAP, there is no money available for Round 5, nor for the grant renewals that will be due in 2005.

Fund director Benn told the gathering that during the Fundís two year history, over US $2 billion had gone to programmes across 21 countries. "The Global Fund plans to ensure that in future, donors will pledge for a certain time period to ensure the funding is long-term." He did not know exactly how many people were on ARV treatment through Global Fund initiatives.

Asia Russell, also of Health GAP, pledged that, "Working in solidarity with members of this international access to treatment movement, who are based in the developing world and are struggling with their own governments for implementation of national AIDS plans for access to antiretroviral treatment; for access to affordable, quality generic medicines, is critical for us. We are here, with others, to ensure the WHO keeps its '3 by 5' promise, and to ensure that The Global Fund keeps its own promises and remains accountable to those with HIV."



Recent AFRICA Reports

Interview with Professor Alan Whiteside, AIDS economist,  29/Mar/04
ARVs - too little, too late,  29/Mar/04
Interview with Hilda Tadria, regional gender advisor at ECA,  26/Mar/04
Rights groups protest possible US threat to AIDS drug access,  26/Mar/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 174, 26 March 2004,  26/Mar/04


The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

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