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Global Fund To Fight AIDS Announces Grants, But Funds Remains Short - 2003-10-17

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria may have to slow the pace of awarding grants. The fund’s board of directors, meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, says only one round of grants may take place next year instead of two. The reason is money. Donations from rich nations have not been as high as hoped.

The global fund has just announced more than $620 million in grants for prevention and treatment programs in 50 countries.

Among those on hand for the global fund’s meeting is Asia Russell of the Health Gap Coalition. The coalition has been critical of donor nations, saying they have not contributed enough. The Bush Administration says the US spends more to fight HIV/AIDS than any other country.

From Chiang Mai, Thailand, Ms. Russell spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the global fund’s financial problems. She says, “It’s true the global fund is facing a massive gap in resources and that’s due to chronic stinginess on the part of donor countries like the US, like Japan, like members of the European Union.” But she says the fund “will roll out its next launch of grant making activities on schedule. This is because members of the board (of directors) that are most affected by these pandemics were able to overcome objections from the US and other donor delegations that wanted to delay and wanted the fund to drag its feet in order to excuse its own stinginess.”

She says reports that the global fund will now only have one round of funding per year instead of two are misleading. She says, “It’s not set in stone. The policy decision that was made was only to establish a floor, not a ceiling. And the floor is that one round is a minimum and we have to use vigilance to ensure that is not the default.”

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria says is needs $3 billion in 2004.