From: Jacqueline Wittebrood (ICSS) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 7:20 AM
Subject: RE: ITPC GFATM suspends grants to the Philippines
Please find below the official press release from the Global Fund website http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/pressreleases/?pr=pr_090924 including the statement that all necessary measures will be taken by the GF to ensure that live-saving treatment and prevention activities financed by the GF will not be disrupted.
The GF obviously has an obligation to act when misuse of funds is reported, however it also has policies in place to ensure continuation of treatment for a certain amount of time.
focal point for the Developed Country NGOs to the GF Board
24 September 2009
GLOBAL FUND SUSPENDS GRANTS TO PHILIPPINES FOUNDATION
Funding to continue through new principal recipients
Geneva - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has suspended all five of its grants to the Tropical Disease Foundation (TDF) in the Philippines after evidence emerged of unauthorized expenditure. TDF's grants for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV will be transferred to new principal recipients in the country.
An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General revealed that around US$ 1 million out of total disbursements of US$ 85 million were spent on activities beyond the terms of the grant agreement. The Global Fund has demanded repayment of the unauthorized expenditures.
The review demonstrated capacity issues within TDF's overall financial management but the Global Fund continues to value its technical expertise, particularly in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
TDF is a principal recipient for five grants: one for tuberculosis and two each for HIV/AIDS and malaria. Its total grant portfolio amounts to US$ 195,225,660. The suspension means that TDF's ongoing grants will be transferred to new principal recipients in the country. The Global Fund intends to transfer the grants to new principal recipients based on recommendations from the Country Coordinating Mechanism in the Philippines and expects that normal grant activities can resume quickly.
All necessary measures will be taken to ensure that life-saving treatment and prevention activities financed by the Global Fund will not be disrupted, pending the signing of agreements with the new principal recipients. Currently, there are 636 people on ARV treatment in the Philippines and 811 people being treated for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Other grants awarded earlier to the Department of Health and Pilipinas Shell Foundation will not be affected by this suspension.
The Global Fund remains committed to efforts to combat the three diseases in the Philippines and will provide all possible support to enable the quick resumption of full grant-aided activities in the country.
Jacqueline Wittebrood | Communications Focal Point | Developed Country NGO Delegation to the Global Fund Board | International Civil Society Support | Van Diemenstraat 192 | 1013 CP Amsterdam | The Netherlands | Fax: +31 (0) 20 4280657 | Mobile: +31 (0) 6 33318020 | Email: email@example.com | Skype: jacqueline.wittebrood | www.icssupport.org
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Paula Akugizibwe
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 12:42 PM
Subject: ITPC GFATM suspends grants to the Philippines
From: STOP-TB <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 11:02 AM
Subject: [stop-tb] Comment: Filipinos living with HIV are now at the mercy of GFATM
To: STOP-TB <email@example.com>
Comment: Filipinos living with HIV are now at the mercy of GFATM
[Source: Cross-posted from SEA-AIDS eForum, www.healthdev.org/sea-aids ]
There are roughly 785 Filipinos living with HIV and AIDS getting their ARV support through the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) project channeled to only one Principal Recipient in the country. The Principal Recipient received over 10 billion pesos or 195.2 million US dollars. The support to ARV which started in 2003 is one of the major components of the over all support to the country. The commitment is to provide ARVs until December 2010.
The national government is expected to sustain availability of the much needed drugs but the financial plan of the Department of Health to make promises realized is not happening as well.
When ARVs were made available, positive Filipinos came forward to avail of the precious drugs that will keep them alive, be healthy and be economically productive. Support groups complemented the effort by providing treatment education, adherence and counseling.
As of 25 September 2009, Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) Geneva suspended five out of the eight grants to the country after major findings in the audit done on the Principal Recipient. There evidences of major "unauthorized expenditures." There were no particular details given. All community based activities of civil societies receiving sub grants were ordered stopped and this includes major activities of the positive community in the country.
Positive people receiving ARVs were shocked to hear the news. At the moment, the decision from GF Geneva holds through. The positive community have started their advocacy and lobbying to the Country Coordinating Mechanism to plead to the Fund in Geneva to make their decision more friendly to more than 700 lives whose in -take of medication will also be halted. This also means a discontinuation of new enrollees to ARV who are qualified and should start taking the live saving drugs.
This is contrary to the principle of "Universal Access" to life saving treatment. The positive community have proposed for the continuation of the support to treatment and care and all other activities where interaction with the Principal Recipient is not necessary. A total of 18 treatment hubs in the country are functional and can continue providing ARVs in the absence of the Principal Recipient.
This uncalled for action of the Principal Recipient has been condemned by the civil societies in the Philippines particularly that of the positive community. They are now calling for more vigilance in being "watch dogs" to fund handlers- transparency and meaningful involvement of PLHAs.
If indeed GF Geneva is true to its commitment of providing Universal access to all those who need ARVs, their drastic decision of suspending all activities is totally not acceptable. There should be a way to immediately find solutions so as not to stop ARVs in the country.
The activists are now chanting saying that they are now at the mercy of the Global Fund Geneva. What will happen to their lives? Isn't this a violation of the rights to access health and treatment?
[Source: Cross-posted from SEA-AIDS eForum, www.healthdev.org/sea-aids ]
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