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AFRICA: Global AIDS Fund calls for proposals

Photo: IRIN
AIDS activists have demanded that the Fund provides the money for antiretrovirals for poor countries
johannesburg, 29 January 2002 (PlusNews) - The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has issued its first call for funding proposals from countries hard hit by the epidemics. Members of the new Board of the Global Fund held their first meeting on Monday and finalised procedures for the disbursing of funds.

The first round of grants - to be awarded in April - will be the first made from the Fund initiated by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last year.

"Today, we are taking a major step forward, moving rapidly to get these resources to the people that need them most," Paul Ehmer, team leader of the Secretariat, was quoted as saying in a press release.

"Proposals will be funded rapidly, with minimum red tape, but with enough safeguards to make sure funds are used responsibly and effectively. Also, the Fund will finance projects that are most likely to clearly demonstrate measurable success," the release said.

A set of guidelines to help countries when submitting their proposals would be issued in the next few days, Melanie Zipperer, communication officer for the Fund, told PlusNews on Tuesday. These guidelines will explain eligibility, application procedures, the types of projects the Fund is prepared to support, and the criteria on which funding decisions will be based.

"The deadline for submitting the proposals will be around the end of February or the beginning of March," said Zipperer.

"The Fund will support interventions based on best practice that have the potential to fight the three diseases effectively and with lasting results," the release said.

To date, pledges to the Fund amount to US $1.9 billion, including US $200 million pledged by the US on Monday. The US made an initial pledge of US $200 million last year. Up to US $700 million are expected to be disbursed by the Fund this year.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last year called for the multimillion dollar global fund to combat HIV/AIDS, saying US $7 billion to US $10 billion was needed annually to curb the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile AIDS activist group Act Up-Paris, issued a statement last week calling for the World Health Organisation to show "clear commitment" on the role of the Global Fund, by advocating that a minimum of 30 percent of Global Fund financing be devoted to purchasing HIV/AIDS medications, in support of the Ouagadougou Call issued at last year's International Conference on AIDS and STDs in Africa (ICASA).

The Global Fund was a "masquerade" as contributions from wealthy nations were outrageously low, the statement said. "And the majority of donor countries refuse to significantly finance the purchase of medicines, thus blocking care for millions of people with AIDS," it added.

For more information on the Global Fund:

Theme (s): Care/Treatment - PlusNews,

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