Uganda Gets U.S.$420 Million to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria

Uganda has received over 400 million US dollars from the Global Fund to beef up the fight against HIV, TB and malaria.

The Global Fund released the funding allocation for countries after launching its new funding model, changing from a system of rounds to bands. In Uganda the money will be allocated as follows:

USD 250 million for treating and preventing HIV and AIDS

USD 23 million for TB

USD 145 million for treating and preventing malaria.

Countries are grouped into four bands defined by disease burden and income levels. Speaking at a recent board meeting in Jakarta, the Global Fund board chair Dr Nafsiah Mboi said the new funding model is a significant milestone which will promote more strategic investments for greater impact in the lives of people affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

“It provides implementers with more flexibility around when they apply for funds,” she said. “It helps align the Global Fund with national strategic planning, so that countries can move as quickly as possible from project to programme funding. The new model also provides more predictability about the level of funding available, while encouraging countries to express full demand.”

Civil society concerns

According to Mark Eldon-Edington, head of grant management with the Global Fund, a total of USD 14.82 billion is available to allocate across eligible countries for the fourth replenishment period which covers 2014-2016.

Edington said this figure includes funds originating from the third replenishment that have not yet been disbursed and that overall funding is 20 per cent higher than the monies distributed by the Global Fund in the past four years.

“Many countries will also be eligible to compete for incentive funding introduced to encourage ambitious funding requests based on robust national strategies,” he said. “In addition, the Global Fund will provide USD 200 million to countries through strategically focused regional grants.”

The new funding model is intended to allocate more funds to countries where the burden is greatest and there is the least ability to pay. But civil society organisations have some concerns about the new model.

Moses Kirigwajo, project manager at Uganda National Health Consumers Organisation, said: “It is not flexible enough to cater for key populations [at risk of HIV] and does not pay much attention to human rights issues. There is need for the Global Fund to be more flexible and include a special fund for key populations so that human rights issues are seriously addressed if we are to achieve universal treatment for all.”

Delayed funding

Previously Uganda had applied for USD 119 million which was meant to buy HIV commodities but the Global Fund had not released the money. According to the Global Fund this was because the fund was in transition from the system of rounds to bands.

The country coordinating mechanism’s chairperson Vinand Nantulya said the Ministry of Health had been expecting the money in January this year and the delay has affected service delivery in terms of treatment, support, care and prevention of HIV.

Nantulya confirmed having received the allocation letter from the Global Fund but said that it wasn’t clear if the USD 420 million allocated included the USD 119 million that they had applied for previously.

More resources needed

According to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Asuman Lukwago, the funding approved by the Global Fund includes all the money that is already in existing funds under the new funding model which, he said, is not enough to finance all the interventions needed to combat HIV, TB and malaria in Uganda.

“That money can only work for us if partners like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other donors stay on board. But if they do not, then the government of Uganda has to mobilize more resources to intervene and bridge the gap,” he said.

Dr Lukwago also said that countries need to look at their priorities and discuss what they need to do without any restrictions from the Global Fund.

“As a country we will come up with a country intervention plan where we will determine how much money will be spent on a specific intervention on all three diseases,” he added.

Source : Key Correspondents

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