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Africa News
4 March 2002

PanAfrica, Global Fund Calls for Proposals  
 
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria recently announced its first call for proposals, as the initial step to supporting projects in countries hard hit by the epidemics. During its first year, the Fund will disburse some US $800 million.

The disbursements come out of a US $1.9 billion pot so-far pledged to the Fund, which was initiated last year by an alliance of private donors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), foundations, national governments and intergovernmental agencies. According to the Fund, its approach will be balanced, covering prevention, treatment, and care and support initiatives tackling the three diseases. Deadline for submissions for the first funding round is
10 March, 2002. However, the Global Fund's spokesperson, Leyla Alyanak, recommended that countries which had not already engaged in preparing a proposal focus on completing their submission for subsequent rounds.

She stressed that it was far better to submit a well thought out proposal as opposed to one conceived in haste and lacking crucial information. She confirmed there would be at least one other round this year. She further added that the process of setting up a Country Coordination Mechanism (CCM), a prerequisite for submitting proposals, was in itself at times lengthy.

The Fund's requirement that proposals be vetted through a CCM has generated extensive commentary within the g
lobal health community. Alyanak affirmed that only under specific conditions - for example, when a CCM cannot be set up - would proposals not submitted through a CCM be considered.

"The goal is to ensure a coordinated national approach within each country, one that includes broad based public and private partnerships," she said. In this regard a CCM should ideally include representation from government agencies, NGOs, community-based organisations, private sector institutions (where they exist) and bilateral and multilateral agencies.

The impetus for the creation of a CCM could come from any of these stakeholders. Other organisations, such as country or regionally based academic institutions that can facilitate and support programmes, could also be included.

Alyanak urged governments and NGOs that have or are in the process of establishing a CCM to contact the Fund with the details, even those that are just in the preliminary stages. This can be done by filling in a Web form at http://216.119.104.123/feedback/ fund.asp or by e-mail to mailto:[email protected] (Fax +41 22 791 9462).

She said the information would be used to update the list of CCMs, which will be posted on the Fund's Web site (http://www.globalfundatm.org) once it is finalised, and to facilitate contact between potential CCM partners. The call for proposals, guidelines for completing the proposal and the application form can also be obtained from the Fund's Web site or by contacting the Fund directly.

Alyanak told IRIN that the Fund had pushed forward with the first call for proposals in order to meet the huge needs of people affected by the three diseases as quickly as possible. She added that the Fund had already received valuable input on improving the proposal process and welcomed additional feedback.

Indeed, since the inception of the Fund, HIV/AIDS activists worldwide have been meeting electronically to discuss the Funds application process, including the sharing of information on the establishment of CCMs and completing proposals.

The e-mail forum, called Break-the Silence, is managed by the Health & Development Networks (HDN), a non-profit organisation concerned with the promotion of networking and international debate among health providers. HDN moderates several electronic discussion forums on HIV/AIDS, TB and other health-related themes. Interested participants can view the discussion archives or subscribe free-of-charge through the HDN Web site http://www.hdnet.org.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has championed the Fund initiative, said last year that US $7 billion to US $10 billion was needed annually to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS alone.