- Tells govt to raise K3.8bn for ARVs
- Orders refund of K1.4bn abused funds
- Approves K133.2bn grant
The Global Fund has for the first time asked Malawi to raise $8.5 million (about K3.8 billion) locally for buying life-prolonging antiretroviral (ARVs) therapy as a contribution to the final six months covered by its grant.
The fund has also set as a condition for Malawi to access its grant a refund of $3.3 million (about K1.4 billion) the Malawi Government abused in the previous budget.
The conditions follow the two applications Malawi made to the fund in January this year.
A five-member Global Fund delegation visiting Malawi headed by Cynthia Mwase, African and Middle East head of department, announced these developments on Friday in Lilongwe after meeting Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Health Jean Kalilani and civil society organisations (CSO) leaders.
Mwase said the Global Fund has also approved release of $296 million (about K133.2 billion), the remainder to the 2014 to 2017 allocation grant of $574 (about K258.3 billion), to enable Malawi to relaunch its fight against the HIV and Aids, malaria, tuberculosis (TB) as well as health systems strengthening programmes.
The team included representation from the Word Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USaid and Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID).
The Global Fund delegation also met First Lady Gertrude Mutharika whose Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust irregularly benefitted from the Global Fund money during its launch last year, prompting CSOs to demand a refund of the money to the National Aids Commission (NAC).
However, Mwase told The Nation that their meeting with the First Lady “was none other than her engagement in the fight against HIV and Aids in Malawi and her action in the area of paediatric HIV prevention among young women and adolescents.”
In an interview later, Kalilani said she was happy that dust has finally settled on the issue of funding from the Global Fund.
She said this time around, government will use the funding efficiently and will adhere to the conditions set by the Global Fund.
But when The Nation asked her on where government would get the $8.5 million, Kalilani said the Malawi Government “will source the money through other means”.
During a news conference later held jointly with the Global Fund team, Mwase said the team was in the country for an update on the Global Fund portfolio, the country’s domestic health financing sustainability, willingness to pay and counterpart financing.
Malawi recently 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.
The Global Fund is an international financing institution based in Geneva, Switzerland with mandate to mobilise national and international resources to support countries to fight against HIV and Aids, TB, malaria and also support countries to strengthening their health systems.