Global Fund Signs First Grant Agreements; Ghana to Receive $6.5 Million for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Friday signed two grant agreements -- the first so far -- with Ghana to fund programs to fight HIV and provide treatment to people with tuberculosis, the Financial Times reports (Williams, Financial Times, 11/23). The grants, which were signed by Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem, Ghana's Health Minister Dr. Kwaku Afriyie and Dr. K.S. Jehu-Appiah, chair of non-governmental organizations in health, include a $4.2 million grant to build 16 voluntary counseling and testing centers, provide vertical HIV transmission prevention services to 600 HIV-positive pregnant women, and provide antiretroviral therapy to 2,000 people with AIDS and a $2.3 million, two-year grant to provide 20,000 additional tuberculosis patients with directly observed treatment, short-course, or DOTS, therapy. The HIV/AIDS grant will also be used to improve home-based care for HIV-positive individuals and employ peer education as a means of providing rural communities with HIV/AIDS information. "Public and private partners in Ghana are showing a commitment to a new way of doing business," Feachem said, adding that the grants "will give them the resources to take effective programs to scale and to ensure comprehensive responses to diseases of poverty." According to the Global Fund, about 40,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses each year in Ghana (Global Fund release, 11/22).
'Morning Edition' Coverage
NPR's "Morning Edition" today reports on the Global Fund's signing of a grant agreement with Ghana, as well as the "snag" that last week delayed the signing of a $12 million grant agreement with Tanzania. NPR reports that the delay "hints at other potential problems" for the fund. According to NPR, "some worry" that the Global Fund is "working so quickly to get the money out into the field that it still doesn't have the structures and staff to get programs up and running and keep track of the money." Richard Lang, a professor of international health at Boston University who has advised the Global Fund, said that the fund staff who are responsible for administering programs "don't actually have the in-country experience of implementing large programs" and that the fund is "trying to reinvent the wheel." Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem responded that the "old approaches have not worked" and the fund is trying to "circumvent national bureaucracies to get the money where it is needed quickly," according to NPR (Wilson, "Morning Edition," NPR, 11/25).
The full segment will be available in RealPlayer Audio online after noon ET.