Brussels — The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced on Wednesday that it has finalized two new grant agreements wth Mali for malaria and TB, worth a total of EUR50 million, which will significantly improve access to health services and deliver treatment to tens of thousands of people.
The announcement was made at a high-level donor conference in Brussels, co-chaired by France, the European Union and Mali, to discuss and coordinate international efforts to provide aid for Mali following recent military and political uncertainty in the country.
The malaria grant for EUR 43 million was signed with Population Services International and a EUR 7 million TB grant will shortly be signed with Catholic Relief Services .
"I would like to reiterate the Global Fund's commitment to remaining in Mali in order to serve that country's populations," Lelio Marmora, The Global Fund's head of Africa and the Middle East, told the conference. "The commitment and good governance of the Malian government will be crucial to the success of these programs.".
Marmora expressed his gratitude to French and Malian civil society organizations, and international organizations, "whose actions and efforts have contributed a great deal to achieving these results. " France is the largest European donor to the Global Fund and the second largest overall.
The two new grants follow the signing in November, 2012, of a Global Fund grant agreement with the United Nations Development Program to resume full-scale HIV screening, prevention and treatment in Mali, worth EUR58 million, together with the United Nations Development Program. Some 50,000 people in Mali are currently living with HIV.
All grant programs, which have a life span of two to three years, will provide improved diagnostic capabilities. This will make it possible to provide greater numbers of patients with antiretroviral and anti-malaria treatment, and to prevent malaria through distribution of insecticide-treated nets.
The two new grants will allow the distribution of 4.9 million nets, the purchase of 4 million malaria treatments and the treatment of 15,000 tuberculosis patients.
All the new grants incorporate stringent safeguard measures taken by the Global Fund and its partners after mismanagement of funds was discovered in 2010. Instead of pulling out of Mali, with its extreme poverty and high disease burden, the Global Fund decided instead to stay and take the necessary mitigation measures to continue support for essential services.
The Global Fund has been funding programs in Mali since December 2003.