How CDC can improve oversight of PEPFAR funds

    Children attend an HIV prevention program in Namibia. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has improved the monitoring capacities of its office in Namibia. Photo by: Mary Jordan / U.S. Agency for International Development / CC BY-NC-SA

    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.

    Read more on U.S. aid reform online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.