JOHANNESBURG, 27 September 2012 (PLUSNEWS) - Change is afoot at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In 2010, after allegations of fraud among fund recipients in Mali, Mauritania and Zambia, the Global Fund put together an independent, high-level panel to review its financial controls and assess how grant money is spent. The Fund is now implementing the panel's recommendations.
IRIN/PlusNews looks back at the reforms made over the past year.
February 2011 - The Global Fund board commissions a high-level panel to review financial controls and oversight mechanisms.
May 2011 - The Fund establishes the high-level review panel, which includes former President of Botswana Festus Mogae, former US Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt, and Gabriel Jaramillo, former banker and UN Special Advisor to the Office of the Special Envoy for Malaria. [ http://www.scribd.com/doc/106902294 ]
August 2011 - The Fund delays the expected launch of its Round 11 of funding.
September 2011 - The Fund postpones Round 11 a second time. [ http://www.plusnews.org/Report/94161/HIV-AIDS-Delayed-Global-Fund-money-a-sign-of-economic-times ]. The high-level review panel presents its report to the board; it includes recommendations to streamline grant application processes, increase focus on health outcomes versus inputs, and reformulate several standing committees. The Fund's Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee is born. [http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/board/meetings/twentyfourth ]
November 2011 - With US$2.2 billion in outstanding pledges, the Fund is finally forced to cancel its Round 11 of funding. An emergency stop-gap Transitional Funding Mechanism is put into place to prevent interruptions in essential prevention, treatment and care services. [ http://www.plusnews.org/Report/94293/HIV-AIDS-Global-Fund-cancels-funding ]
January 2012 - Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine announces his intention to step down in March 2012. Jaramillo is appointed General Manager, a new position created to oversee the Fund's reform process. The new position is expected to reduce the heavy demands placed on the executive director, which may have contributed to criticism of Kazatchkine.
March 2012 - Germany announces the first of four $65 million contributions to the Fund slated for 2012, a move billed by the international health financing mechanism as a "clear endorsement of new measures to improve financial oversight and management." On the heels of Germany's announcement, Japan pledges $340 million.
Countries submit applications for grants under the Fund's Transitional Funding Mechanism.
April 2012 - The Fund announces changes to simplify grant administration, including a 33 percent increase in staff management positions, which comes after cutting almost 40 percent of staff positions from other departments. It is part of a stronger emphasis being placed managing the grants that fund disease prevention and treatment.
July 2012 - After failing to contribute to the Fund in 2011, Spain returns with a contribution of $12.1 million. [ http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/mediacenter/newsreleases/2012-07-25_Global_Fund_Recognizes_Signal_of_Deep_Commitment_by_Spain/ ]
August 2012 - The Fund appoints French financial advisor Daniel Camus as its chief financial officer. Camus' appointments is the Global Fund's third major staff announcement in four months, following the March appointment of former GAVI internal audit director Cees Klumper as chief risk officer and the May appointment of Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Seth Faison as head of communications.
September 2012 - The Fund announces the principles of its forthcoming new funding model. Funding will be allocated by country groupings, and mechanisms will be implemented to increase the percentage of successful applications. The announcement signals the Fund's move away from the 'round' system, in which calls for grant applications were issued periodically, and shows growing emphasis on disease investment frameworks to guide programming. [ http://www.plusnews.org/Report/96385/HEALTH-The-Global-Fund-adopts-new-funding-model ]