analysisBy Karanja Kinyanjui
The Global Fund has contracted with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to replace Mali's National AIDS Council (NAC) as principal recipient (PR) for a Round 8 HIV grant, following the Fund's findings that the government body misappropriated earlier grants. The agreement with UNDP was signed on 20 November 2012.
The decision to transfer management of the Round 8 HIV grant to a new PR was made in October 2011 after evidence of misappropriation of funds was uncovered during an investigation by the Global Fund's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The Fund asked Mali's CCM to identify a new PR to manage the second phase of the grant and took measures to prevent further risk to its investment in the country. The scope of the grant was reduced to funding of essential services (a) to ensure continuity of treatment for 25,288 people in Mali who were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and (b) to start new patients on treatment.
NAC protested the move. As reported in a GFO article, Dr Youssouf Diallo, a spokesperson for NAC, told the Associated Press (AP) that the Council had not been shown any of the evidence against it.
The OIG had identified misuse of grant funds has been identified in all eight grants in Mali. According to a statement released by the Global Fund announcing the appointment of UNDP, since 2011 the Fund has scaled up mechanisms for management and oversight of grants.
The agreement with UNDP provides funding for $75 million over the next three years. The money will be used for HIV screening, prevention and treatment. Services will target key populations at higher risk; one of the main priorities is to intensify efforts to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from mother to child and to support voluntary screening of pregnant women.
Since December 2003, the Fund has disbursed approximately $90 million to provide ART to 30,000 patients in Mali out of the estimated 50,000 people who are currently living with HIV; to detect and treat 17,000 smear-positive TB patients; and to distribute 720,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.