Aids Focus

Cancelled grants hamper Aids, TB fight

2012-03-28 14:05

Special Report

Geneva - The world is losing ground in its efforts to improve the treatment of Aids and tuberculosis victims because of a $23bn global health fund's termination of new grants, the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Tuesday.

The humanitarian organisation - also known as Doctors Without Borders - told reporters that the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria's cancellation of plans for $2bn in grants between 2011 and 2013 has caused thousands of new patients to go untreated.

"New treatments for patients have been put on hold," said MSF general director Bruno Jochum, whose group has been providing antiretroviral HIV treatment. "In some cases, treatment clinics have simply been shut down."

Tough choices

Jochum said a lot of medical teams will have to make tough choices, including which patients to treat and which will be left, perhaps to die.

The Geneva-based Global Fund said last year it had cancelled plans for its "Round 11" of grants to expand or add programmes due to lack of contributions from donor nations in the face of a difficult economic climate.

But the fund says it also has been tightening its control over how billions of dollars of grant money is managed. The fund created an outside review panel last year after Associated Press articles about the fund's losses led some donors to withhold funding, and the fund scaled back its spending.

The fund's announcement last year that it had cancelled spending is a huge setback in efforts to keep alive thousands of people living in poor countries, Jochum said. Also, some related international efforts by the United States, the United Nations and other organisations have been scaled back, he said, on the premise that the Global Fund would pick up the slack.

Vicious circle

Dr Eric Goemaere, head of MSF's South African branch, said that some poor countries are now falling behind in their efforts to treat new patients and prevent more infections, which is creating "a vicious circle" similar that faced by African countries more than a decade ago.

"We are going back in time in those countries and in a way we are in danger of driving the epidemic underground," Goemaere said.

Fund spokesperson Andrew Hurst said it continues to hand out $3bn a year to fight the three diseases, and any country whose grants run out between now and the end of 2013 will get funding so patients can stay on treatment and prevention services are maintained.

"As the Global Fund completes a major reorganisation so that our investments in 150 countries can save even more lives, we intend to seek more funding from existing and new donors," he said.

Read more on:    msf  |  hiv aids  |  health  |  tb

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.