Global Fund changes highlight opportunities, challenges

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The Kaiser Family Foundation’s panel talk on changes at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, focused on the impact of reorganization at the charity at a time when scientific progress offers unprecedented chances for inroads against the diseases.

Panelists Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS/RESULTS EDUCATION FUND, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president, Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, Shepherd Smith, president and founder, Institute for Youth Development, and Todd Summers, chair of the Global Fund’s strategy, investment, and impact committee, with Kaiser vice president and director for Global Health & HIV Policy, spoke in a live interactive webcast today.

Among the changes to the fund: Many more staffers have been moved to positions to manage grants after a series of revelations surrounding late release of funds and misspent, missing money in assisted countries raised donor concerns. While the results of the restructuring remains to be seen, panelists said the financial situation remains sound, at a time when the opportunity exists to change the trajectory of the three diseases.

They pointed to:

  • Studies that have shown antiretroviral treatment can slow the spread of HIV;
  • New diagnostic technology for tuberculosis that can allow infections to be detected faster and with greater accuracy;
  • Hopeful signs in the fight against malaria include dropping rates of the disease in some countries, widespread distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, and improved diagnostic tools that now need to be made more accessible in areas where children’s infections continue to be misdiagnosed.

In addition, while a round of funding was cancelled during last year’s upheaval, countries can apply for transitional financing to maintain existing programs. Applications are being taken now

At the same time, panelists highlighted the need for greater oversight of programs in the field, as well as a stronger commitment on the part of bilateral programs in country to support effective use of the fund’s donations.

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