16 October 2017

Burundi: Global Fund Suspends Direct Subsidies to Health Ministry

Photo: Irin
Street in Bujumbura

Following flaws in the financial management and procurement observed in the ministry of public health, the Global Fund has just withdrawn the direct subsidies to the ministry and granted it to the United Nations Development Programs for supervision. Right groups say it is a loss for Burundi.

In the correspondence sent to the minister of public health on 12 October, the Global Fund noticed that the first-half of 2017 rating does not change significantly and remains below expectations. While Global Fund's priorities are to ensure funds are well used to achieve the best possible results, the limitations in the results, financial management, the decision-making space of the implementers which restricts the operational responsiveness necessary for the acceleration of programs, are all factors that lead to the under-utilization of available resources.

At the end of 2017, the Global Fund finds that the unused financing is estimated at more than $ 30 million (based on the current absorption rate of 65%). This situation, which places the fund under the obligation to review the modalities for the implementation of subsidies in Burundi, is also likely to affect future financing if solutions to it are not implemented quickly.

In order not to leave a situation that is detrimental to the optimal use of resources for the benefit of the populations, the Global Fund is obliged to use the additional safeguard policy, as was communicated on 2 December 2016. The Global Fund has not accepted the proposal to set up a Project Management Unit within the ministry of health, considering that this proposal does not satisfactorily meet the operational procedures of the fund. It has opted for a change in the modalities of implementation for the 2018-2020 period. The UNDP will now acts as a single principal recipient under the strategic direction of the national coordinating body. The support provided by UNDP in this configuration will also enable national programs and civil society to maximize the impact of the allocated sum of $ 72.3 million for the 2018-2020 period.

"It is a loss for the country"

Hamza Venant Burikukiye, the chairman of CAPES+- a local NGO advocating people living with HIV/AIDS, says it is regrettable to hear that the ministry of public health is unable to appropriately use the funds granted for the benefit of the population. "After our warning, we thought things had improved, but in vain", he says.

Burikukiye believes that the Ministry of public security will continue to seek the collaboration with the Global Fund even though beneficiaries will continue to be supported for the good image of the country.

In February, two local NGOs-CAPES+ and PISC Burundi- warned of irregular activities within the Ministry of Public Health that might cause the government to lose from the International Monetary Fund(IMF) an estimated amount of $72.300.822 primarily intended for the fight against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.

Sylvain Habanabakize, spokesperson for the network of patients in Burundi, says the withdrawal of the subsidies from the Ministry of Public Health by Global Fund is a loss for the country in general and for the beneficiaries in particular. He urges the Ministry of public health to renew its collaboration with the Global Fund. Iwacu has tried to contact the Ministry of public health, for more details but in vain.

Since 2003, the Global Fund has contributed up to more than $ 275 million which enabled the achievement of the national results: the distribution of 21 million nets, of which 6.4 million were donated during the 2017 campaign; care for 51,726 patients on ARV (Dec 2016), representing 64% of People living with HIV/AIDS, 6900 tuberculosis patients treated per year (from 2003 to 2015), and 7,662 patients in 2016 as well as the construction and strengthening of other health infrastructures in the country.

Burundi

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