Forbes features an interview with Deborah Derrick, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in which she “discusse[s] her motivations for pursuing a career in international affairs and social change, her experience as a senior program officer at the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation], what lessons she learned during her time at Gates that are most applicable in her new executive role at Friends of the Global Fight, the current landscape of challenges and solutions, and the role of technology in accelerating progress.” In the interview, Derrick said, “The mobilization to defeat these diseases in the past decade has been stunningly successful. … But there is so much more that needs to be done. If we don’t muster the resources to keep up the fight, and all commit to doing our part in a time of constrained resources, we risk backsliding on the progress we’ve already invested in” (Kanani, 9/21).
“Good news about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been sorely lacking these past few years as the organization has faced corruption allegations, financial woes, and internal reform,” a Lancet editorial states. “Yet, despite these challenging times, the Fund remains operational and continues its important work,” it writes, adding, “Last week, it announced that its Board had approved 45 new two-year grants, from 37 countries, totaling $419.2 million.” Noting “[t]he approved projects were part of the Fund’s Transitional Funding Mechanism, established in November 2011 to ensure that essential programs did not face disruption at a time when there was uncertainty about availability of resources,” the editorial continues, “The mechanism is commendable and the funding news immensely welcome.”
The BMJ examines the history of fraud allegations against the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the organization’s ongoing reform efforts. “Most observers agree that after a honeymoon first decade, the Global Fund had grown so big, and the economic climate and attitudes to diseases such as AIDS have changed so dramatically, that more rigor and efficiency was needed, fraud or no fraud,” BMJ writes. The Fund is expected to appoint a new director “and a new funding model, to be announced on November 15, [which] are supposed to get things back on track” (Arie, 11/12).
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, on Monday published Issue 201 of its “Global Fund Observer.” Among other articles, the issue features an article on a recently released Aidspan paper examining how the Global Fund calculates lives saved; a commentary on how the Global Fund’s new funding model will affect its Latin America and the Caribbean portfolio; and an article examining five new reports from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) — “three on audits in Bangladesh, Djibouti and Ghana, and two on investigations in Djibouti and South Africa” (11/5).
In the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ (CSIS) “Smart Global Health” blog, Todd Summers, senior adviser at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, reviews the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s old rounds-based grant system that the Global Fund Board recently agreed to replace with a new funding model “that’s designed to be flexible, focused, and fast,” he says. Summers describes some of the shortcomings of the old model, outlines the “[c]ore attributes” of the new model, and writes, “Many other important aspects of the new funding model remain to be worked out, and some larger questions remain. I’ll try to highlight some of these in upcoming blogs” (11/26).
“In a bid to ensure the global fight against three of the world’s most devastating diseases remains efficient, the Board of the … Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria voted [Thursday] to begin an immediate transition” to a new grant-funding approach, the U.N. News Centre reports (11/15). The new funding model “is designed to be simpler, more flexible, and have greater impact in conquering the diseases,” according to Reuters. “The new system relies upon closer discussions with the recipient countries, along with other donor groups and experts, over the design of their disease-fighting programs”; “will focus on addressing the needs of the poorest countries with the highest number of infections”; and will allow flexible grant cycles “instead of falling in set time periods, so that they can be coordinated better with a country’s budgetary cycle, [the Board] said,” the news agency writes (Dawson, 11/15).
The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Thursday announced it will “integrate” the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm), implemented in 2010 as a pilot program to provide low-cost artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in poor and rural areas, “into its existing core system of providing grants to countries to purchase drugs, bed nets and other malaria-control measures,” Nature News Blog reports (Butler, 11/15). “During a transition period in 2013, the lessons learned from the operations and resourcing of Phase 1 of the AMFm, such as manufacturer negotiations and the co-payment mechanism, will be integrated into core Global Fund processes,” a Global Fund press release states.
The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Thursday named as its new Executive Director Ambassador Mark Dybul, who helped create and then lead PEPFAR under former President George W. Bush, Intellectual Property Watch reports (Hermann, 11/15). According to the New York Times, “[h]e is respected by many AIDS activists in the United States, though there is some lingering controversy about his time in the Bush administration related to abstinence policies and anti-prostitution pledges imposed by conservative lawmakers as well as concerning strict licensing requirements for generic drugs” (McNeil, 11/15). The Financial Times reports Dybul said, “The most important thing is to look forward, not to the past. The U.S. funded more condoms than all other sources and 90 percent of all antiretrovirals are generics.” The newspaper notes, “Dybul’s appointment from a shortlist of four was adopted by the fund’s 26-strong board — composed of donor and recipient countries, non-governmental organizations, and business representatives — with just two abstentions, including France” (Jack, 11/15).
“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said in a statement Thursday that its board had terminated the employment of Inspector General John Parsons ‘after a careful review of his performance, which was found to be unsatisfactory,'” the Associated Press reports (11/15). “The decision … , which was effective immediately, was based on a review by the board, an independent external peer review of the audit function, and a report by the group’s audit and ethics committee,” Reuters notes (Nebehay, 11/15). In a statement, the Global Fund said, “The Board confirms its full support for an independent and strong Office of the Inspector General.” The statement continues, “The Board said that it recognized the need to maintain continuity in the work of the audits and investigations currently underway, while the Global Fund conducts a search for a new Inspector General.” That process is expected to take about six months, and an interim Inspector General will be appointed soon, according to the statement (11/15).
Writing in Huffington Post’s “The Big Push” blog, Lucy Chesire, executive director and secretary to the board of the TB ACTION Group, notes “countries from north and south, U.N. organizations, private sector companies and [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)] are meeting in Geneva [this week] at the Board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to discuss how best to invest available resources against the three killer diseases.” She highlights “a new approach to fight AIDS, which basically could lead to the end of the global pandemic,” noting, “UNAIDS calls it ‘the people-centered investment approach.'” Chesire interviews Bernhard Schwartlander, director of evidence, innovation and policy at UNAIDS, about this new approach.