21 June 2013
Shawn Clackett

Myanmar Funding gets Early Approval

Myanmar

On 15 June, 2013, the Global Fund announced approval for the first concept notes submitted by three early applicants: Myanmar, El Salvador and Zimbabwe. A concept note is the Global Fund’s mechanism for countries to request financing. The three countries have been approved for funding up to $449.8 million. Because the approved amounts are ceilings, the final level of funding determined during grant negotiations could be less.

“Countries have been able to act quickly to get this new funding model started, and that’s great news,” said Simon Bland, Chair of the Global Fund Board. “These first grants show how, by working with partners, we can reach more people facing these diseases and really move forward progress toward defeating them and removing them as threats to public health.”

In contrast to El Salvador and Zimbabwe, Myanmar will receive $111.8 million to fight all three diseases; HIV ($39.5 million), tuberculosis ($26.3 million), and malaria ($26.0 million).  HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria afflict Myanmar. There are an estimated 220,000 people living with HIV; ie. 0.6% of the country’s population. There are believed to be some 125,000 people in need of HIV anti-retroviral treatment. HIV-prevention program in Myanmar will support a strong push in that country to meet an urgent need for anti-retroviral coverage. The grant will support Myanmar’s goal of achieving universal access to anti-retroviral treatment by 2016, up from 43 percent in 2012. Tuberculosis afflicts some 300,000 people, and it is estimated that over 30% of tuberculosis cases remain undetected. Malaria is also a serious problem, with transmission rates high in nearly half of the country, putting 1 in 1,000 people at risk of infection.

Between 18-19 June 2013, the executive board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held its twenty-ninth in Colombo, Sri Lanka. At this meeting, the executive board favourably considered progress on the implementation of the new funding model approved at the twenty-eighth meeting of the board held in late 2012.   The new funding model greatly streamlined the way applicants apply for funding, obtain approval of their proposals, and then manage their grants.

“The new funding model is dynamic and exciting,” said Prof. C. O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health in Nigeria, who participated in the Board meeting. “It is welcome in the sense that it is flexible and makes for sustainability of programs based on country leadership and priorities.”

Essentially, the new funding model makes it easier for countries to receive funding while ensuring funds are being spent as described in the application. Under the new funding model, country eligibility was reviewed and an ‘allocation formula’ created to ensure countries received appropriate amounts necessary to fight the three diseases. The approval of these substantial grants to Myanmar, El Salvador and Zimbabwe indicates that the new funding model is robust and effective, and is working to allocate financial resources in a more timely and efficient manner.

Shawn Clackett

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