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Global Fund Observer


Issue 375: 18 March 2020

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1. NEWS and ANALYSIS: "As the world shuts down due to Covid-19…"

By: Alan Whiteside

Aidspan Board member and health economist Alan Whiteside recaps the brief, dramatic history of COVID-19, and compares the transmission of the newest coronavirus with the early days of the HIV epidemic. This article draws attention to the lack, so far, of public-health guidance on interactions between HIV and COVID-19, and between tuberculosis and COVID-19, in people who may become co-infected.


2. NEWS: Is it possible to contain and treat widespread COVID-19 infection in Africa?

By: Adèle Sulcas

With COVID-19 now present in more than 30 African countries, some of which are also managing high numbers of HIV and TB infections, it is unclear to what extent African countries’ health systems can cope with screening for COVID-19, containing it, and treating those who become severely ill with it. In addition, how COVID-19 interacts with HIV and TB in patients already living with those diseases is still an open question. This article includes links to several publicly available COVID-19 tools and resources.


3. NEWS and ANALYSIS: As COVID-19 takes hold in Africa, will the Global Fund adjust its application windows for 2020-2022 funding requests?

By: Aidspan Staff

Countries in West and Central Africa, among others on the continent, are diverting enormous energy and resources into their efforts to contain the world’s newest coronavirus, COVID-19. This threatens the quality and timeliness of their applications for Global Fund funding in the 2020-2022 funding cycle. Might the Global Fund adjust the timing of its remaining grant application windows in 2020 to accommodate this?


4. NEWS: Global Fund has allocated an additional $43.3 million to existing grants in several countries for 'portfolio optimization'

By: Djesika Amendah

The Global Fund Board has allocated $43.3 million in additional funding for portfolio optimization to several Global Fund grants, including Kosovo (HIV/AIDS), the Middle East Response (integrated), Namibia (Malaria), Nigeria (Malaria), South Sudan (Tuberculosis), and Zambia (TB/HIV).


5. ANALYSIS: State Principal Recipients’ find ways to improve Global Fund grant absorption

By: Ann Ithibu

Malawi, Sierra Leone and Uganda are three African countries with varying disease burdens, Global Fund grant allocations, and operating environments. However, the state Principal Recipients, who manage most of the Global Fund grants in the three countries, face similar challenges spending their Global Fund allocations fully. These challenges include lengthy government approval processes and capacity gaps within the implementers. This article explains some of the strategies the three countries have come up with to improve their absorption of funds.


6. ANALYSIS: Supreme audit institutions of Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda vary in their external audit performance of Global Fund grants

By: Samuel Muniu

The Global Fund requires annual audits of its grants, with countries’ own ‘supreme audit institutions’ (SAIs) as the preferred auditors of grants managed by state Principal Recipients. The supreme audit institutions of Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda are among the few SAIs that already conduct annual audits of Global Fund grants in sub-Saharan Africa. These three SAIs, however, vary in their external audit performance.  


This is issue 375 of the GLOBAL FUND OBSERVER (GFO) Newsletter. Please send all suggestions for news items, commentaries or any other feedback to the GFO Acting Editor at For issues relating to Francophone countries or the French edition of the GFO, the Observateur du Fonds Mondial (OFM), please contact OFM Editor Christelle Boulanger at To subscribe to GFO/OFM, go to

GFO Newsletter is a free and independent source of news, analysis and commentary about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (

Aidspan ( is a Kenya-based international NGO that serves as an independent watchdog of the Global Fund, aiming to benefit all countries wishing to obtain and make effective use of Global Fund resources. Aidspan does not fund any other organizations. Aidspan finances its work through grants from foundations and bilateral donors. Aidspan does not accept Global Fund money, perform paid consulting work, or charge for any of its products. The Board and staff of the Global Fund have no influence on, and bear no responsibility for, the content of GFO or of any other Aidspan publication.

GFO Newsletter is now available in English and French. The French-language edition becomes available within one week after the publication of the English edition.

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