As a key player in U.S. global health programs, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should adopt stronger measures for monitoring how recipients use the grants it provides.
That’s according to an internal audit report conducted by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
CDC is increasingly involved in U.S. global health efforts, which Washington insiders suggest is due to recognition of its strong capability to effectively manage programs and deliver results. The audit, however, shows that even CDC’s processes need improvement.
The audit focused on CDC’s office in Namibia, which is responsible for awarding and monitoring funds from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other recipients. It reviewed how CDC monitored some $39.5 million worth of PEPFAR funds it awarded to four recipients in 2009.
“CDC Namibia did not always monitor recipients’ use of PEPFAR funds in accordance with HHS and other Federal requirements,” the audit notes. “As a result, CDC Namibia did not have assurance that PEPFAR funds were used as intended by law.”
In line with this finding, the inspector general urged CDC to develop and implement standard monitoring procedures that include documenting its review of recipients’ progress reports and expenditure as well as site visits, discussions and meetings, among other activities.
CDC, in response to the audit report, concurred with the recommendations but highlighted that monitoring capacities of the office in Namibia have already been improved since 2009.
“The corrective action taken improves and standardizes grant administration, placing a greater emphasis on documenting partner accountability, technical oversight, and strong financial management,” the CDC said.
The Office of the Inspector General noted that it has yet to review the corrective actions CDC said it has undertaken.
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