Nigeria receives $70m from Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS
Olayide Akanni
April 29, 2002
Nigeria-AIDS eForum correspondent

Nigeria's HIV/AIDS programme received another boost on Thursday with the announcement of about US$70 million grant from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Nigeria's three grants are among the highest approved by the Fund for any of the 31 countries awarded grants based on their proposals submitted to the Trust Fund early this year.

Nigeria's grant awards cover three proposals, focusing on promotion of effective participation of civil society organizations in the National Response to HIV/AIDS ($1,687,599); expansion of the current prevention of mother to child transmission (pMTCT) project ($27,431,874); and the expansion of the antiretroviral programme in the country ($41,772,103).

The Fund awarded a total of $378 million to 40 programmes over two years in 31 countries. In addition, the board of the Global Fund also agreed to a fast-track process to approve an additional $238 million for 18 proposals in 12 countries, plus three multi- country proposals "provided conditions are met". This would bring the total funding over two years to $16million.

Of the 40 countries whose proposals were approved for funding with 'no or minor adjustments', South Africa received the highest amount of funds totalling over $175 million for two proposals which focus on strengthening HIV/TB related care and support. Zambia received the second highest grant; Ukraine received the 3rd highest, while Nigeria received the fourth highest grant.

At a telephone news conference last Thursday,Chair of the Global Fund's Board and Minister without Portfolio of the government of Uganda, Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga said "the grants will provide critical support to effective prevention and treatment programmes around the world".

Our correspondent, who participated in the telephone conference, reported that the approved grants were selected from more than 300 proposals submitted for the first round of funding. All eligible proposals were thoroughly evaluated by the Global Fund's Technical Review Panel, an independent group of 17 experts in prevention, clinical care, health education and international development. The Board made final decisions on grant awards.

Fielding questions from journalists, members of the board, Mr. Rajat Gupta, Ms. Phillipa Lawson, Dr. Anders Nordstrom and Dr. Anne Peterson, explained the basis on which country/organization proposals were selected. They noted that accepted proposals centred around expansion of anti-tuberculosis programmes, scaling up of voluntary counselling and testing services (VCT) as well as social marketing of condoms to mention a few.

Our bias is to fund all worthy projects", they said.

Nordstrom, who is the Interim Executive Director of the Fund said: "We prioritized high quality proposals that were based on effective programmes and lessons learnt, and were developed by partnerships of governments, community organizations, people living with the diseases and other groups".

Lawson said the fund faced the challenge of identifying and specifically soliciting proposal designed to fill gaps ion under-represented components including antiretroviral treatment, and a balanced portfolio of regions, diseases and treatment. "The Board is committed to continually improving and streamlining the application process and helping potential grantees to submit high quality proposals", she added.

Kiyonga also noted that the Fund and its partners have strong monitoring and evaluation procedures in place to ensure that funds will be used properly.

The Global Fund disburses grants with a minimum of red tape, but with safeguards to ensure that funds are used wisely and achieve results. We will work closely with grantees to monitor programme implementation, financial management and health outcomes", he said.

The 40 grants awarded will support HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria programmes in all regions of the world as follows: Africa - 52 per cent Americas - 13 per cent Eastern Mediterranean - 1 percent Eastern Europe and Central Asia - 8 per cent South East Asia - 12 percent and Western Pacific - 14 per cent.

According to the board, about 60 per cent of the funds granted in this round goes to projects working in HIV/AIDS and an additional 15 per cent goes to programmes fighting HIV/AIDS combined with one or both of the other diseases.

10 per cent goes to programmes working to fight malaria, and 16 per cent to programmes focusing on tuberculosis. Of the 28 countries that will receive funds to fight HIV/AIDS, 21 have grants that specifically include funding to purchase antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund plans to issue a second call for proposals later this year.

At the telephone conference, Fund officials also announced the appointment of Dr. Richard Feachem as the newly appointed Executive Director of the Fund.

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