The board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria kicks off its two-day meeting today, Sept. 13, with one topic high on the agenda: a new funding model.
The Global Fund has embarked on a number of reforms this year, from leadership changes to staff cuts. This is General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo’s way of getting the organization, which had to cut grants last year, back in business. And in Geneva, the funding institution is again set to discuss another overhaul.
The board will tackle aspects of a new funding model, which, according to Global Fund Director of Communications Seth Faison, “will change the way the Global Fund has made grants for ten years.” This new model is expected to boost the fund’s grant-making process — meeting more success and achieving greater impact.
The funding model to be tackled at the meeting, according to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, will see the Global Fund dropping its “round” grant-making process and replacing it with a “more flexible” system. An “iterative dialogue process” is also reportedly being explored. This could help countries develop proposals that could have a higher chance of gaining approval.
The proposed reforms seem good for the fund and its beneficiaries. The Global Fund has been hailed by many as a driver of success in the fight against tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV and AIDS. But some have expressed their concerns on the funding model under consideration, specifically on the “historical diseaseapplication” approach.
Under the approach, funding for tuberculosis would go back to 2000-2009 levels or 16 percent of the total Global Fund budget. This is significantly lower than current transitional funding levels, where TB proposals garnered 25 percent of the budget, according to a document sent to Devex by the Stop TB Partnership.
Such low financing will have a “detrimental effect” on the global plan to stop tuberculosis, according to the document, which was endorsed by more than 60 individuals and organizations.
“So far, there is no other donor who could step into the Global Fund’s role,” the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat said in an emailed release. More than 80 percent of external funding for TB programs comes from the Global Fund.
The Stop TB Partnership is proposing other allotment methods, an increase in funding allocation fortuberculosisduring this interim period and the creation of a special fund for MDR-TB commodities that “would cover the procurement and stockpiling of second-line drugs and increased access to new diagnostic tools.”
The International HIV/AIDSAlliance, meanwhile, has put forward some basic principles the fund’s board must follow in deciding on a new funding model. These include: commitment to country-ownership, demand-driven funding, investing in interventions with “proven impact,” ensuring human rights and gender are at the heart of the model, and ensuring appropriate effective risk management.
How funding will be allocated, including the model’s flexibility, simplicity and predictability are all “top priorities” in the discussion, Global Fund’s Faison told Devex in an email.
“Board members and stakeholders are considering aspects of what should be in a new model conscientiously and thoroughly,” he said.
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