Nearly two years after suspending its HIV and AIDS grant to Mali, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has decided to resume a “full-scale HIV program” in the African country.
The health funding agency will be providing €58 million ($74.2 million) over the next three years to help some 50,000 Malians gain access to HIV screening, prevention and treatment.
The program will target high-risk populations and will focus on reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission through a more systematic but voluntary screening of pregnant women. For Mali’s Foreign Affairs Minister Tiéman Coulibaly, the agreement “brings hope” and reminds their citizens that “they have not been forgotten.”
The Global Fund suspended AIDS funding to Mali in March 2011 due to corruption allegations. This time, the Mali Country Coordinating Mechanism has commissioned the U.N. Development Program to manage the full-scale HIV program. Not only has UNDP strengthened its safeguards against fraud, it has also increased the Global Fund’s access to internal program audits for better transparency.
The renewed funding is a “major step forward” and an affirmation of the organization’s support of life-saving efforts in the country, particularly now that “the humanitarian situation requires special attention,” Mark Edington, Global Fund’s grant management division head, said in a press release.
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