analysisBy David Garmaise
The latest issue of Global Fund News Flash from the Secretariat provides additional information on recent developments concerning grants to Mali. GFO reported on 25 January that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had been appointed a principal recipient for a Round 8 HIV grant.
Despite the challenges of operating in Mali, the News Flash said, the Global Fund has consistently operated there, even after a coup d'état in March 2012.
"The health needs in Mali are considerable," the News Flash said. The team of professionals at the Global Fund who work on Mali believe that it is all the more critical to deliver treatment and essential services, and that the difficulties and drastic security conditions caused by civil war are worth bearing. Senior management at the Global Fund supports that approach."
According to the News Flash, in order to implement the UNDP grant, many special precautions had to be taken, including some reprogramming to adapt to changing conditions on the ground, a "zero-cash" policy and a staggered sequence of delivery of health products.
"The need for such precautions was underscored when mismanagement of funds was discovered in 2010," the News Flash said. "Instead of abandoning those in Mali who still need treatment, the Global Fund has found ways to persist, by working in close coordination with international organizations, multilaterals, USAID, PMI [US President's Malaria Initiative], and French civil society, by taking necessary precautions, and by intelligent grant management, which means constantly adjusting to a changing reality. It is paying off."
According to the News Flash, new funding agreements to expand treatment for malaria and tuberculosis, worth a €52 million, are expected to be finalised and signed by the end of March. "At some point, the fighting in the civil war will diminish. Perhaps the enormous challenges of working in Mali will recede somewhat, and doing development work and disease prevention and treatment will flourish. Regardless, the work remains."