Global Fund Suspends Funding to HIV/AIDS Programs in Ukraine, Citing Poor Management, Other Concerns
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Friday announced that it has suspended approximately $6.7 million in payments on grants to three Ukrainian HIV/AIDS organizations because of concerns that they are poorly managed and behind schedule in meeting their goals, the Washington Post reports. The Global Fund has approved a total of $25 million in two-year grants for Ukrainian programs. The three primary recipients -- for which grants were suspended -- include a Ukraine health ministry program to increase the number of people on antiretroviral therapy from fewer than 60 people to about 4,000 people over two years; a public education program on AIDS prevention organized by the Ukrainian Fund to Fight HIV Infection and AIDS; and prevention programs for injection drug users, prostitutes, soldiers and other high-risk groups run by several small organizations under the management of the United Nations Development Programme. So far, the Global Fund has disbursed $7.5 million, but the programs have spent only about $740,000, according to Global Fund spokesperson Jon Liden (Brown, Washington Post, 1/31).
Analysis Shows Problems
Over the past three weeks, the Global Fund's secretariat has carried out a comprehensive analysis of the programs' operations and determined that "Ukraine is significantly behind in its objectives on containing AIDS and providing medical assistance for people who live with the virus," according to a Global Fund statement (Interfax-Ukraine, 1/31). "We do not believe the programs can be successful if we stay with the current structure," Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said, adding, "Yet we do not wish to stop Global Fund funds from flowing. ... The issue, therefore, is to secure operations in the short term to ensure that in the medium term, we are able to get the program back on track" (Global Fund release, 1/30). The Global Fund plans to ask a "reliable organization" to assume control over the AIDS programs for "several months," the Ukranian News reports (Ukrainian News, 1/31). In addition, the fund plans to bring in outside experts to reorganize local management of the programs, according to the Post (Washington Post, 1/31). The programs are expected to be turned over to the Global Fund within the next few months while the Ukrainian government works on improving the implementation process, management and supervision. The Global Fund said that it would take "decisive measures" to ensure that the programs' goals are achieved within two years, Interfax-Ukraine reports (Interfax-Ukraine, 1/31). The Global Fund -- which finances 225 disease prevention and treatment programs in 121 countries -- has never before stopped financing to one of its programs, the Post reports (Washington Post, 1/31).