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Global Fund Donors ‘Earmark’ Funds For Capacity-Building, Fund’s General Manager Says

Gabriel Jaramillo, the general manager of the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said in an interview on Friday that “quite a few donors” to the fund “have earmarked portions of their donations to us, their contributions, to capacity-building,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. According to the AP, the Global Fund “is increasingly being forced to devote a portion of its donations to improving its own spending controls rather than disease-fighting,” the news service writes. “France, whose nearly $2.9 billion in donations have made it the fund’s second-largest contributor after the U.S., will sign a new pledging agreement this month requiring that five percent of its money go to tighten financial accountability among grant recipients, he said,” the AP writes.

Former British PM Gordon Brown Publishes Report Examining Child Marriage, Proposes ‘Global Fund For Education’

“Child marriage is a one-way ticket to a life of poverty, illiteracy and powerlessness for girls and the international community needs to take urgent action to stop it,” according to an analysis (.pdf) published Friday by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Guardian reports. “Brown’s review, seen exclusively by the Guardian, says that the issue of child brides has been ‘conspicuous by its absence’ in the efforts to cut global poverty, bring down child and maternal death rates and get children into school, which are stated Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015,” the newspaper notes.

Ukraine Security Secretary Says HIV, TB Remain Threat To Nation’s Security, Encourages Cooperation With Global Fund

Speaking about two bills concerning Ukraine’s cooperation with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Ukraine Secretary of National Security and Defense Council Andriy Kliuyev said “[t]he epidemics of AIDS and tuberculosis [TB] remain a threat to national security in Ukraine and require redoubled efforts to treat and prevent these diseases,” Interfax reports. Submitted to Ukraine’s parliament by the Cabinet of Ministers, the two bills “propos[e] to exempt from taxes and duties all transactions connected with the use of grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Ukraine,” the news agency notes. “The NSDC secretary said the state should explore every avenue to minimize the sickness rate and create conditions for the treatment and prevention of dangerous diseases, adding that the grants of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are valuable support for Ukraine,” Interfax writes (3/3).

Chinese Government Pledges Greater Support For Organizations Fighting HIV/AIDS

“Organizations involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS will get greater government support,” Yu Jingjin, director of the disease prevention and control bureau under China’s Ministry of Health, said, China Daily reports. He said, “‘The government will beef up investment and support for social groups’ and cooperate with reliable ones,” and added, “Each province this year will support three to five civil societies tackling HIV/AIDS and help them with operational costs and training,” according to the news service. “Yu urged health authorities to work more with society in general to fight AIDS,” China Daily writes, adding, “Cooperation in this sphere has not always worked fully to its potential, he said” (Shan, 3/2).

Ugandan Official Expresses Concern Over Rise In TB, Emergence Of Drug-Resistant Strains

In an interview with Xinhua on Tuesday, Francis Adatu, head of the national leprosy and tuberculosis (TB) program in Uganda, warned that TB “remains a major public health problem” and that multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) has emerged in the country, the news service writes. “‘According to our prevalence survey we found MDR-TB in 1.3 percent among new cases and 12.3 percent among people who have been exposed to drugs or treated over and over again,’ Adatu said,” Xinhua writes, noting that Adatu said treatment for MDR-TB was much more expensive than for drug-susceptible TB.

Budget Cuts Threaten Global Health Progress, Advocacy Group Warns In Report

The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) — consisting of 40 global health research and advocacy organizations — on Tuesday held a congressional briefing to launch its third annual policy report, titled “Sustaining Progress: Creating U.S. policies to spur global health innovation,” GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports (Donnelly, 2/28). The group is “warning deep cuts in the U.S. federal budget could reverse progress made on many diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” VOA News writes (DeCapua, 2/28).

CSIS Report Recounts Adversities Faced By Global Fund In 2011, Suggests Strategies For Moving Forward

This report (.pdf), published by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) on Monday and titled “Righting the Global Fund,” recounts the adversity faced by the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria over the course of 2011 and suggests potential strategies for addressing these challenges going forward (2/27). “Aside from the major challenges of ensuring adequate funding from donors, there are five critical areas where the Global Fund will need to concentrate its repair efforts this year” — grant oversight, management, governance, program inefficiencies, financial forecasting and donor reliability — and “five priorities that should guide the U.S. government’s approach to the fund” — fund management, operational integration, diplomacy, consistent messaging to Congress, and the integration of science data and innovation, the authors write in the report (Morrison/Summers, 2/27).

Swaziland Looking To Shore Up Funding For AIDS Treatment, Testing Supplies

“Cash-strapped Swaziland is struggling to fund its HIV programs, and experts are warning of long-term damage to treatment and prevention schemes if steps are not taken to ring-fence funding and supplies,” the Mail & Guardian reports. About 200,000 people are living with HIV in Swaziland, nearly one quarter of the population, the newspaper notes, adding, “Until now the government has done well in terms of providing antiretroviral (ARV) treatment — achieving 78 percent coverage, just under the World Health Organization’s ‘universal coverage’ rate of 80 percent. But there are fears that uncertainty about funding streams and weak supply-chain management could result in a reversal of this progress.” The article discusses funding from the government, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; antiretroviral drug and testing supply problems; and the epidemic’s effect on children and life expectancy in the country (Redvers, 2/27).

Despite Economic Downturn, Global Fund ‘Needs And Deserves’ International Support

In recognition of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s 10th anniversary, Sisonke Msimang, executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, recounts the Fund’s history and development in this Project Syndicate opinion piece, stating that the organization is “driven by the idea that people need not die of preventable and treatable diseases simply because they are poor.” She continues, “And yet today, despite the Global Fund’s effectiveness and its strong anti-corruption track record, donors have cited ‘bad governance’ as an excuse for withholding further committed resources. Others have blamed the global financial crisis. The irony of this has not been lost on activists, who deal with the drivers of AIDS, TB, and malaria — corruption and poverty — on a daily basis.”

Global Fund Releases More Than $7M To South Africa Following Request From AIDS Organizations

“More than seven months overdue, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant will finally be released to key South African AIDS organizations that have been struggling to survive,” PlusNews writes, adding, “Some were on the verge of shutting down.” According to the news service, “The Global Fund released US$7,106,426.91 to the South African National Treasury on February 6, the same day seven of the grant’s sub-recipients delivered an open letter to Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi, pleading for intervention.”