The international health community needs to collaborate to protect the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from “unwarranted attacks” that put crucial funding for the organization’s “important” work at risk, the head of an international non-governmental organization argues.
“[U.S.] President [Barack] Obama did not say a single word about global health and development in his State of the Union address. The Global Fund clearly is not a priority. That means there is a real danger that the AP story will be enough for those seeking to gut the Global Fund to argue against further financial commitments,” says Paul Zeitz, president of the Global Peace Action Network, whose signature program is the Global AIDS Alliance, referring to a story by The Associated Press indicating that billions of dollars in Global Fund money have been misused.
A decrease in U.S. funding for the Global Fund would prompt a decrease in overall pledges for the organization, which is set up so donors pledge matching funds, Zeitz says in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post.
The Global Fund should be left to do its job, he says, explaining that the organization “has placed intense focus on being both transparent and meticulous about its funding, placing significant power in the hands of its inspector general.”
Reports of Global Fund grant misuse have led Sweden to threaten a withdrawal of its contributions to the fund. Germany, meanwhile, has said it will wait for the results of a review of the Global Fund’s programs before making any decision on its 2011 contributions.