Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Awards First Three Checks
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has issued its first three checks to programs approved in April for grant funding, the Wall Street Journal reports. The fund disbursed money to programs in Ghana, Haiti and Tanzania, and fund officials hope to illustrate the "effectiveness and accountability" of the fund in order to attract the "billions" of dollars in pledges that it still needs. Last month, the fund's accountability was tested when it delayed Tanzania's two-year, $12 million grant for a malaria prevention program after the Tanzanian finance ministry insisted that the check be deposited into the ministry's account instead of into the health ministry's account. After Global Fund officials refused to agree to the country's new terms, Tanzanian officials over the weekend agreed to allow the check to go to the health ministry. "One of the things that distinguishes the Global Fund is that it's not business as usual," Richard Feachem, executive director of the fund, said, adding, "We pulled back and they sorted things out. We're delighted it's now moving ahead." The fund in April approved 37 projects for funding worldwide, and it plans to announce a second round of grants in January. However, the fund will be "effectively exhaust[ed]" following the awarding of checks for the second round of grants if it receives no additional support.
Feachem to Call for Increased U.S. Support
Feachem, who has been on a fundraising tour in conjunction with World AIDS Day, is in Washington, D.C., this week to ask for increased U.S. support for the Global Fund. He plans to speak with Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. lawmakers. According to Feachem, a "reasonable" U.S. contribution to the fund over the next two years would total $2.5 billion to $3 billion. The United States -- the fund's largest donor -- has so far pledged $500 million. The fund has called for an additional $2 billion in funding for 2003 and an additional $4.6 billion in 2004. "We are looking for a greatly increased contribution from the United States, alongside others," Feachem said (Bank, Wall Street Journal, 12/2).