Indian Government Rules Delay Disbursement of $100M Global Fund Grant
Indian government rules have delayed the disbursement of a $100 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria that originally was approved in January, according to Agence France-Presse (Agence France-Presse, 12/16). According to Meenakshi Datta Ghosh, project director for India's National AIDS Control Organization, the "sticking point" preventing India from signing the project grant agreement is "the clause that [states that] funds will be disbursed every quarter based upon satisfactory performance, and that this disbursement is subject to the availability of money with the Global Fund," according to the Times of India. Ghosh added, "We cannot accept an agreement where there is no predictability of funds." However, Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said that concerns about the predictability of funds are "a misinterpretation of the grant agreement," adding, "We are willing to sign a firm commitment for the first two years of the five-year period. ... Even for the next three, we are optimistic of securing the necessary funds." Feachem said, "We regret this [delay], and we find it disappointing because we are aware of the urgency to expand HIV prevention and treatment in India. This is the time-bomb of the AIDS pandemic." Ghosh said that negotiations with the Global Fund are continuing and have been "positive," according to the Times of India (Karkaria, Times of India, 12/16). A recent study conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Population Reference Bureau and the Population Foundation of India and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found that the number of HIV-positive people in India rose from 3.97 million in 2001 to 4.58 million by the end of 2002, according to data from NACO (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/14).
Additional information on HIV/AIDS in India is available online as part of kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on HIV/AIDS.
Also available online is a kaisernetwork.org video feature on HIV/AIDS in India. The report -- prepared by Fred de Sam Lazaro, also a correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer -- includes interviews with people who are on frontlines of India's efforts.