Health financier wants new round of proposals for grant funding
Guyana Chronicle
January 11, 2004

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THE Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria has issued a call for a new round of proposals for grant funding. The new round of grants will contribute to a substantial increase in the amount of money available in the global fight against the three diseases.

Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has grown to become the world's largest financier of programmes to fight the three diseases. AIDS, TB and malaria together kill more than six million people each year and impede economic and social development in a large number of developing countries.

"We are looking for proposals of the highest quality, particularly from partnerships that include the private sector and local non-governmental organisations," said US Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, Chair of the Board of the Global Fund, "to meet the greatest challenge of our times - turning back the tide of these three pandemics."

In three previous rounds of proposals for grant funding, the Global Fund committed US$2.1 billion over two years to 224 programmes in more than 120 countries to combat the three diseases.

This round of proposals comes in the wake of the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS' launch of the `3X5' initiative to provide anti-AIDS treatment for three million people living with HIV by the end of 2005. The Global Fund will provide many countries with their main opportunity to finance the massive expansion of services needed to succeed in this commitment.

This round will also encourage countries to submit ambitious, large-scale proposals to combat malaria.

"A number of countries are now ready to conduct a major offensive against malaria," says Dr Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "We have effective tools to prevent and treat malaria. We need to spread these tools to as many countries and people as possible."

The fourth round of proposals also represents a major opportunity for private sector companies to expand their efforts to prevent and treat these diseases among their work force and in the surrounding communities.

In December, nine global companies with operations in countries affected by HIV/AIDS announced that they will use their facilities, employees and other infrastructure to expand workplace HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programmes into communities where they operate. By using infrastructure that was created to serve their employees, this corporate contribution will be able to expand public programmes and reduce their start-up and running costs. Companies can now submit proposals for co-investment in prevention and treatment of the three diseases to the Global Fund, increasing the impact of their own efforts.

"I urge companies around the world to submit proposals for combating the three diseases, expanding workplace prevention and treatment programmes into communities where they operate," said Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former diplomat and president of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS.

The deadline for submission of proposals is April 5, 2004. Proposals are evaluated by an independent Technical Review Panel of health and development experts. Proposals found to be of a sufficiently high standard will be recommended for funding to the Global Fund's Board, which will meet at the end of June. Over the past three rounds, roughly 40 per cent of submitted proposals have been deemed to have the technical quality necessary to be recommended for funding. All recommended proposals have so far been funded.

The Global Fund is a unique global public-private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents a new approach to international health financing. The Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organisations to supplement existing efforts dealing with the three diseases.

The Global Fund has been established as an independent private foundation under Swiss law and is governed by an international Board. Apart from a high standard of technical quality, the Global Fund attaches no conditions to any of its grants. It is not an implementing agency. It relies on local ownership and planning to ensure that new resources are directed to programmes on the frontline of this global effort, reaching those most in need. Its performance-based approach to grant-making - where grants are only disbursed if progress has been measured and verified - is designed to ensure that funds are used efficiently and create real change for people and communities.