Grant Applications to Global AIDS Fund Expected to Exceed Available Money
Nearly 50 nations are expected to submit grant applications to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria this week, and due to a lack of money to fund all requests, officials expect to "conduct painful triage among many worthy -- and sometimes politically influential -- candidates," the Wall Street Journal reports. Grant proposals are due Sunday, and winners are expected to be announced on April 24. However, there is only about $700 million currently available, less than half of the $2 billion pledged to the fund, and many nations may not get any money at all. "What we will receive in proposals will probably go beyond our resources," Anders Nordstrom, the fund's interim executive director, said. Only wealthy nations are excluded from applying for grants, leaving African nations to compete against China, Russia and other "better-off" nations for money. Grant requests are expected to come from half the nations in sub-Saharan Africa; Malawi alone plans to ask for $30 million to $60 million to support a "comprehensive AIDS package" that includes testing, counseling and treatment, including the use of antiretroviral drugs. Officials said they plan to only accept proposals that are likely to be successful, no matter who the applicants are. "We're only going to fund programs that really make a difference," Nordstrom said. The fund administrators hope that the success of the first-round projects will "persuade donors to loosen their purse strings further." The United States has so far donated $300 million and another $200 million, awaiting congressional approval, is designated for fiscal year 2003. However, one official warned, "The pessimistic view is that the powerful countries will feel they've made their gesture and can now move on to more interesting things." Still, if the fund allocates $800 million this year, it would be a 50% increase in annual international AIDS spending, Nordstrom pointed out. The fund also hopes to hold one more grant application round this year (Phillips, Wall Street Journal, 3/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.