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Delegates briefed on changes at the Global Fund

Ministers of health and other delegates to the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference were briefed on September 20 about a new funding model that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is planning to implement in 2013.

The new model will enable the Fund to invest resources more strategically and for greater impact, in line with the principles of the Global Fund Strategy 2012-2016.

The Global Fund has recently faced reduced donations from developed countries and private organizations. This is due primarily to the global economic turndown but also to the growing relative strength of emerging economies, which has prompted calls for greater sharing of responsibility for international development cooperation.

Silvio Martinelli, Regional Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Global Fund, said the new funding model will reassure donors and taxpayers that the Global Fund’s investments will produce increased value for money. The Fund has also instituted changes in its operational structure and governance and will also address simplification of grant management processes.

The principles of the new funding model were approved by the Global Fund Board on September 14, laying the foundation for a new system based on strategic investments (moving away from ‘one size fits all’ approaches), maximization of impact, collaboration, efficiency, predictability of processes and financing levels, and flexibility. The round-based system will no longer be used, as countries will be able to apply throughout the year with a simpler application format and process. The new model also emphasizes the role of the Fund’s grants in countries’ national health strategies overall.

Martinelli said the Board did not change the eligibility criteria and that currently eligible countries will continue to be so. However, discussions are under way about expanding the criteria used for classifying countries beyond the current World Bank country income categories to include other indicators, such as the Human Development Index.

Under the new model, funding will be apportioned in two ways: 1) through specific funding range for each country, determined by a formula based on disease burden, ability to pay and other factors and 2) through funding specifically intended to incentivize ambitious investments from applicants. Moreover, a specific channel for most-at-risk populations (MARPS) will continue to be available for all three diseases.

In the future, Martinelli said, the Global Fund secretariat will pro-actively engage with countries in preparing their funding proposals and during grant implementation, and will work to protect and promote human rights, sustain and surpass gains already achieved against the three diseases, enhance partnerships, and mobilize the resources needed to combat the three diseases. Martinelli said the Fund is seeking feedback from countries on the proposed model, a final version of which is expected to be submitted to the Board for approval in November 2012.

Since the Global Fund was launched in 2001, 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have benefitted from 131 grants, worth a total of nearly $2 billion.

Currently, 19 countries in the region have specific Global Fund grants, while virtually all are part of regional grants. Three countries that have received funding—notably Argentina, Brazil and Mexico—no longer qualify for new financing from the Fund as they belong to the G-20 group of the world’s largest economies. Other restrictions apply to a larger number of countries belonging to the World Bank’s Upper Middle Income category.

Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland, Director of the Pan Caribbean Partnership for HIV (PANCAP), said Latin America and the Caribbean would benefit from a more coordinated approach to the Global Fund, particularly through representation on its main governing body, the Board. She urged strengthening of strategic partnerships between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean as well as with other constituencies, including civil society organizations, the private sector, and other middle-income regions.

PAHO Director Mirta Roses described PAHO support for its member countries in areas related to the Global Fund. This includes the facilitation of joint procurement of medicines and supplies through the PAHO Strategic Fund and support for the rational use of drugs, especially through expanded testing and diagnosis and alignment with WHO recommendations on ARV regimens (Treatment 2.0).

In the past, PAHO has also provided support for the development of Global Fund proposals and grant implementation. Mechanisms are currently being explored to enable PAHO to provide such support in the future.

A similar informational briefing on the Global Fund was held for the first time last year during PAHO’s 51st Directing Council.

 
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