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The Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria


6 October 2002


Fund Unveils New System
To Improve Financial Accountability

Grant Negotiations Begin with Initial Countries

MONTREAL –  The Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria released plans today for a bold new system that will use private sector firms to increase oversight of how donor money is spent.

Auditing firms, such as KPMG, Crown Agents and PricewaterhouseCooper have been contracted to speed up the initial release of funds by decreasing front-end bureaucracy and paperwork, while tightening the monitoring of program effectiveness.

“The epidemics demand that we stop going about business as usual,” said Richard Feachem, executive director of the Fund. “The Fund is working together with donors to create a new generation of systems for a more comprehensive world response to diseases of poverty.”

The announcement was made at the opening session of the IUATLD World Congress on Lung Health, a prominent annual meeting of tuberculosis specialists from around the world.

The new system will standardize and simplify procedures required to quickly disburse funds, while establishing robust and reliable systems for monitoring of financial and programmatic accountability.

Assessors, called Local Fund Agents, will determine the degree of readiness, both financially and programmatically, of the grantees receiving money from the Fund. The Local Fund Agents will also assure responsible disbursements and monitor program success. The Local Fund Agents are being selected based on their independence from those receiving funds, their expertise with financial and programmatic management, and the quality and expertise of their in-country local staff members. To date, all Local Fund Agents have been selected from the private sector.

Tanzania, with its recent history of innovative health care, is scheduled to be one of the first countries to receive money from the new Fund. Discussions are continuing this week to establish the new assessment and reporting process and finalize the dispersal of $17.4 million over two years to control HIV/AIDS and malaria.

“Over a decade ago, Tanzania broke similar ground in improving the accountability of health programs by developing the DOTS tuberculosis control strategy,” said Feachem. “DOTS has made health workers more accountable for the cure of their patients and programs more rigorous in reporting their progress in controlling the disease. We all stand to benefit greatly if we can take what we have learned about quality control from the DOTS work in Tanzania and apply these lessons toward improving the quality of our financial systems.”

Sri Lanka will be another initial country to put the monitoring system in place. The Fund awarded $6.6 million over five years to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to control TB. The money will extend DOTS treatment services in under-served areas, making use of NGOs and the private sector.

“Donor investments have already helped countries such as Tanzania and Sri Lanka fight tuberculosis. They have achieved impressive results but the fight has just begun,” said Feachem. “The Fund will bring substantially more funds to these countries to scale up these successes.”

According to Feachem, donor support has already helped countries extend the DOTS strategy to reach nearly one million TB patients each year. It is estimated that TB patients being treated through DOTS services are twice as likely to be cured of the disease, than by clinics not using DOTS. In India and Peru, DOTS has succeeded in cutting TB deaths seven-fold. Nepal and China have cut TB deaths in half where the DOTS strategy has been used.

“Additional financial support is required to provide DOTS more widely,” said Feachem. “There are effective interventions for the treatment and control of malaria and HIV/AIDS that also need to be taken to scale. The Fund is committed to making sure every dollar spent on AIDS, TB and malaria has maximum impact.”

“With DOTS, we have an effective strategy for controlling TB, a track record of getting results, and a global plan to rapidly expand these services,“ said Dr Nils Billo, executive director of the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, which sponsored the tuberculosis conference. “The Fund has now created a better system to ensure donor funds can be better accounted for. We hope that the required funds to now massively scale up the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria are soon forthcoming.“

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The Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is an independent, public-private partnership working to attract, manage and disburse new resources to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and to rapidly disburse these funds to effective prevention and treatment programmes in countries with greatest need.

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