Ottawa – Some recent media reports regarding misuse of grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are misleading, sensational and damaging not only to the Fund but to the millions of impoverished and vulnerable people around the world that it has saved.
The Global Fund has a commitment to transparency and a zero-fraud policy. This is the kind of model of transparency that should be praised, not condemned.
An Associated Press wire story released last week sparked a media firestorm by using a few unfortunate, but isolated, examples of misuse of Global Fund grants. These cases had already been publicly identified by the Global Fund’s own independent Inspector General and corrective action had been taken. Unfortunately, these reports created a misleading portrait of wide-scale fraud that is simply inaccurate. The impact of this distortion is potentially devastating at a time when foreign aid is already under fire.
Misuse of funds should never be tolerated. However, to portray this misuse as widespread is inaccurate. The truth is the funds in question, roughly US $34 million, represent roughly 0.3% of the US $13 billion disbursed by the Fund and involve only 4 of the 145 countries where the fund operates.
Isolated examples like those being reported should not overshadow the fact that since its inception in 2001, the Global Fund has invested US $21.7 billion dollars to support extensive prevention, treatment and care initiatives in 150 countries and generated an unprecedented record of success.
Thanks to the Global Fund’s grants, 3 million people with HIV are receiving anti-retroviral medicines (ARVs), 7.7 million people have received TB treatment, 160 million insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed to protect families from malaria, and almost half a million HIV-positive pregnant women have received preventative treatment to halt vertical transmission of HIV. The net results – 6.5 million lives saved.
Any dollar stolen or wasted is a dollar not spent on prevention, treatment or care of AIDS, TB or malaria, and that is unacceptable. However, distorted and sensational reports are not only damaging to the Fund – they create misinformed impressions of development aid overall, threaten future investments, and undermine the potential for progress for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD)
Save the Children Canada
National Advocacy Committee of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign
Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC)
Make Poverty History
Canada-Africa Partnership on AIDS (CAP AIDS)
Northern AIDS Connection Society
Canadian AIDS Society
Dr. Rosemary/Mbali J. Jolly, Queens University
People to People Aid Organization (Canada)
Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (CANAC)
Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC)