Former PEPFAR head Mark Dybul to lead Global Fund

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The physician who helped create and then led the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief will be the new executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Global Fund announced the appointment today, shortly after announcing the firing of Global Fund Inspector General John Parsons.

Dybul will lead an institution still in the midst of change. After a series of revelations of misspent and unaccounted-for money in the last couple of years shook donors’ faith in the ten-year-old charity and led to the cancellation of a round of funding, the decade old charity has spent the last year reorganizing its administration and continues work to redesign how it distributes grants to countries fighting the three diseases. Former Executive Director Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, who helped create the fund, and led it for five years, stepped down in January. It has been led since, on an interim basis by retired banker Gabriel Jaramillo.

While Dybul, like Kazatchkine is a physician and AIDS authority who took a pivotal role in designing a global health response, he will head an organization now that has taken a radically different approach from PEPFAR’s. While PEPFAR’s initial work focused on providing programs  that framed how funding to prevent and treat HIV was used, the Global Fund began with a country-driven approach that funded efforts designed by local civil society and government agencies.

When Dybul began his work on PEPFAR, sentiment that efforts to bring life-saving treatment to Africa would be futile were still prevalent. Dybul has lauded President George W. Bush’s decision to launch PEPFAR and has written that the former President deserves a Nobel Prize for his initiative in tackling the epidemic. Dybul, who from 2006 to 2009 led PEPFAR in the ambassador-at-large position of United States Global AIDS Coordinator oversaw the government’s participation in the Global Fund, and served as chair of the Fund’s finance and audit committee. After leaving the post in 2009 he joined the faculty of Georgetown University where he has served as a Distinguished Scholar and co-director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Law.

He has continued to weigh in on AIDS policies and responses,  highlighting the damage Uganda’s proposed anti-gay legislation would do to public health as well as human rights and urging continued expansion of treatment efforts.


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