Global Fund Signs Letter of Intent To Award Previously Suspended Grant to Ukrainian HIV/AIDS Program
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday announced it has signed a letter of intent to appoint a temporary recipient for part of a grant to a Ukranian HIV/AIDS program that was suspended earlier this year, according to a Global Fund release (Global Fund release, 2/24). The Global Fund in January suspended approximately $6.7 million in payments on grants to three Ukrainian HIV/AIDS organizations because of concerns that the programs were poorly managed and behind schedule in meeting their goals. The Global Fund has approved up to $25 million in grants over two years and up to $92 million over five years for Ukrainian programs. The three primary recipients from 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, sex workers, soldiers and other high-risk groups run by several small organizations under the management of the United Nations Development Programme. The Global Fund as of the end of January had disbursed $7.5 million to the Ukranian programs, but they had spent only about $740,000, according to Global Fund spokesperson Jon Liden (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/2). Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said, "This new arrangement will allow funds to flow to those who most need it -- the people of Ukraine who are living with HIV/AIDS," adding, "We are committed to help turn around the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine, and we are pleased that we could speedily solve the problems which prevented effective action."
The Global Fund expects that it will award a one-year, $15 million grant to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, which had been a sub-recipient in the previous grant structure. The alliance will serve as the sole principal recipient to administer funding to "implementers" of the program's four components, including HIV treatment and prevention programs for high-risk groups; care and support programs for people living with HIV/AIDS; a "general risk" awareness campaign; and monitoring and evaluation. The grant could be extended beyond one year based on the alliance's performance and the progress made by the Ukraine Country Coordinating Mechanism -- the Global Fund's country-level partner for grant proposals -- in "addressing the concerns raised by the Global Fund" that resulted in suspension of the original grants, according to the release. Global Fund Senior Director for Strategy, Evaluation and Program Support Brad Herbert said, "Once the serious issues we have raised on governance, management and adherence to required business practices are satisfactorily addressed, we hope the program will soon return to being country-led by the Country Coordinating Mechanism" (Global Fund release, 2/24).