Uganda loses $12m in Global Fund AIDS and malaria funding over misuse concerns

 Due to concerns over misamanagement and poor accountability of initial installments, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria  has refused to release $10m of the $36m that was allocated to Uganda in 2003 for HIV/AIDS activities under Round One. A further $2m has been withheld from the $24m allocated for malaria work under the Global Fund, Round 2 in 2004.

According to Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Fund, quoted in the New Vision“Uganda failed to satisfy the Global Fund in time that the arrangements put in place after the suspension were good enough to protect their money in Uganda.” 

The organisation noted that the two grants “have become irredeemable” as they are 40months behind schedule and Uganda should have accounted for the first installments.

Back in August 2005, the Global Fund temporarily suspended all of its five grants to Uganda upon evidence of ‘serious mismanagement’ of the funds. The Global Fund requested the country to put in place a new structure that will ensure effective management of the grants.

In October 2005 the Ugandan Government responded by setting up a commission of inquiry into allegations of mismanagement of grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  The Global Fund later lifted the suspension of the grants in  November 2005, following the signing of an Aide Memoire setting out action points for restructured management of the grants.  

The commission of Inquiry headed by Justice James Ogoola, issued a damning report in June 2006 but 2 years later the Global Fund board raised concern over Uganda’s delay to act on the Ogoola Commission report.  In August 2008, the Global Fund’s Inspector General visited Uganda to evaluate progress.

 

The Uganda Government, under pressure from donors, begun to prosecute people alleged to have embezzled the money. Among those interrogated were 3 former health ministers.

Meanwhile the Uganda AIDS Commission recently announced that Uganda needs $700m to fund its HIV/AIDS priority activities for the next year and a half. The Commission estimates that “about 25% of this will go towards prevention measures, while 53% will go towards treatment, care and improving systems to deliver drugs and services”. 

 In an interview with the New Vision newspaper, the Global Fund coordinator at the Uganda AIDS Commission was optimistic that Uganda would get funds under Round 3 ($30m) in November and Round 7 ($70m for HIV/ AIDS and a further $51m for malaria) in December 2008.  “We shall not lose it (Round 3) much as we were a bit behind schedule.” 

 

However, he said that due to delays in the first seven rounds, Uganda could not apply for Round 8 grants, whose application deadline was July 1. “We are finalising with the Round 7 funding. Applying for fresh grants would be illogical. We shall apply for Round 9,” said a source at the Uganda AIDS Commission. 

The Global Fund is already calling for new applications for Round 9 grants. It is unclear what procedures the Global Fund will put in place to prevent further mismanagement of funds by donor countries.

 

According to recent reports estimated 1.1million Ugandans are living with HIV/AIDS and about 130,000 new HIV infections are registered every year, the biggest percentage being married couples and sex workers. Mother -to-child transmission contributes up to 18.1 percent of new HIV infections in the country.

 

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One Response

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