26 March 2013
Shawn Clackett

Global Fund News Flash

Issue 16 – 21 March 2013

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New Funding Model Hits the Ground Running

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the countries taking the lead in implementing the Global Fund’s new funding model that was launched last month. Among the 50 or so countries that will access new funding in a transition phase this year, the DRC  is one of a handful invited to participate fully, going through all steps of the application process from submission of a concept note to creation of a new grant. At a gathering in Kinshasa, senior officials from DRC and the Global Fund discussed the context and dynamics of the new funding model, where US$130 in additional funding has been identified for HIV programs and US$ 85 million for malaria. Those investments will support programs that provide a significant amount of antiretroviral drugs to HIV patients and provide millions of replacement mosquito nets to people trying to prevent the spread of malaria. The DRC’s Minister of Health, Dr Felix Kabange, cited the flexibility and the inclusive dialogue in the new funding model, and said he had already seen signs of it in preparatory work in recent months. “I have seen things change significantly, both in our way of discussing things and in the way of dealing with problems and defining priorities,” Kabange said. The DRC and the Global Fund had established a true partnership, he said. “We are engaged in a constructive dialogue, which cannot fail to lead to advances.”

Mark Edington, Head of Grant Management at the Global Fund, who was also in Kinshasa for the event, said that partnership is most effective in countries which are already investing significant amounts of their own resources in fighting disease. He highlighted Kabange’s strong personal commitment to increased domestic funding of health programs, but said that the DRC’s government needed to make more health financing available for HIV, TB and malaria to match the grants. “We need to see the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Congo recognize the importance of investing in health and we need to see them put money into fighting the three diseases,” he said. “There is so much to do in the DRC and, while the Minister of Health is extremely committed to putting sufficient amounts in the budget, to date, the National Assembly has not upheld his budget lines.” Only 12 percent of people who need antiretroviral therapy are getting the medication in DRC and only 6 percent of pregnant women receive antiretroviral therapy that prevents the transmission of HIV to their child, he added. Kabange and Edington both promised to work to succeed in getting the DRC to invest more in health services given its high disease burden.

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