The Grant Approvals Committee (GAC) of the Global Fund has endorsed a grant proposal for the country’s programmes on tuberculosis (TB), HIV and Aids and malaria running up to December 2017 pending a final review.
The development follows recommendations of the Fund’s Technical Review Panel (TRP) on the joint concept note the country submitted on January 30 2015.
The grant’s approval also comes hot on the heels of the Fund’s concerns over misuse of funds from the previous budget by the Ministry of Health and the National Aids Commission (NAC) that resulted in ordering the country to refund about K1.4 billion.
Malawi has been pleading with the Global Fund to approve $574.3 million grant for HIV and Aids, TB and malaria interventions up to December next year.
In its letter to the Malawi Government addressed to Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani, the Global Fund Secretariat says the TRP has recommended the country’s concept note to proceed to grant-making while clearing some issues.
“The TRP finds the concept note submitted to be technically sound and strategically focused,” reads the Global Fund letter under the subject Notification to Proceed to Grant-making.
The letter, dated May 22 2015, is signed by Charlotte Kristiansson, Global Fund’s regional manager for Southern and Eastern Africa Region (Grant Management Division).
The endorsement means that the Global Fund will now start the grant-making process to translate the concept note into disbursement-ready grants that can be signed into grant agreements upon the Fund’s Board approval.
The funding request is for a period of two and a half years starting on July 1, 2015 and ending on December 31, 2017.
However, the Fund says it has recommended an upper ceiling on funding for the grants based on TRP recommendations rather than a final budget amount, which may be adjusted making.
The total recommended amount for grant-making for the period is about $444.1million which represents $295.9million as allocation funding and $148.2million which is above allocation funding request. This brings to $616million total grants Global Fund is giving Malawi for the period 2012-2017.
Reacting to the development, Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence said the fund is coming at the right time as the country was the first to sign and commit to the 90-90-90 treatment target to help end Aids by 2030.
“The funding will also target key populations such as female sex workers and men who have sex with men which is a great progress for Malawi’s HIV response which is more targeted now to invest in with the new HIV infections,” he said.
On his part, executive director of Health and Rights Education Programme (Hrep), MazikoMatemba, said it was good news for the country particularly for beneficiaries of HIV and Aids services who will ably receive the much-needed health care services such as ARVs.
“This support will greatly assist Malawi as it recently launched the new HIV/Aids strategic plan [2015-2020] where much emphasis is on reaching out to 90 percent of the people affected and infected from the current 50 percent who are able to receive the ARVs and other services,” he said.
The Global Fund is an international financing institution based in Geneva, Switzerland and with mandate to mobilise national and international resources to fight against HIV and Aids, TB and malaria. It also supports countries to strengthen their health systems.
Recently, Malawi stepped on the Fund’s raw nerves after it used the Global Fund allocations for unplanned expenditures, including buying unbudgeted for vehicles.
The Global Fund, which was one of NAC’s major financiers, rechannelled all funds to the Ministry of Health, Action Aid and World Vision after being displeased with accountability issues.