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Global Fund Observer


Issue 377: 15 April 2020

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1. NEWS: Global Fund Board doubles funds available for COVID-19-related response to $1 billion

By: Adèle Sulcas

In two expedited decisions taken on April 9, the Global Fund Board has ratcheted up its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recognizing that without further support to countries, gains already made in programs to fight HIV, TB and malaria and to strengthen health systems may be upended by the rapid global spread of the disease.


2. NEWS: U.S. President suspends WHO funding over handling of COVID-19 crisis

By: Adèle Sulcas

United States President Donald Trump announced on April 14 that he was suspending the U.S.’s funding to the World Health Organization, saying that “WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable” for what he alleges is a “mismanaged” response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Global leaders have quickly condemned the announcement, which has attracted widespread criticism as an attempt to shift the blame for the U.S.’s own slow response to the COVID-19 threat.


3. FEATURE: COVID-19 and civil society organizations in Africa: Global Fund grant implementers respond

By: Christelle Boulanger

In West and Central Africa, where the COVID-19 epidemic is spreading, civil society organizations and implementers of Global Fund grants are organizing the community response. They are organizing information and awareness-raising on protection, distribution of hygiene kits, and reconfiguring the available care on offer at health facilities and the protection of caregivers. They also rely on the community networks of young women, and neighborhood associations.


4. OPINION: African Health Systems – our frontline in the COVID-19 pandemic battle?

By: Dr Delanyo Dovlo

In an opinion piece written for ‘The Africa Health Pot’, health-systems consultant Dr Delanyo Dovlo considers the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of African health care. The pandemic has, he writes, made the absence of serious investment in building functional health systems “painfully obvious”. It has also highlighted the need for fundamental change in holding African leaders and managers more accountable to their populations.


5. INTERVIEW: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic and South Africa’s response’: A discussion with Professor Salim Abdool Karim

By: Edited by Adèle Sulcas

On April 8, the ‘Daily Maverick’s’ Mark Heywood hosted a webinar with Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director of the Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa, and now also the Chair of South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Group on COVID-19. They discussed South Africa’s response to the pandemic, the particular vulnerabilities of people living with HIV and TB, whether ‘lockdown’ measures are working, and what happens next.


6. NEWS: Global Fund grants in Angola are “performing poorly,” OIG says

By: Djesika Amendah

In a routine country audit of Global Fund grants in Angola, the Office of the Inspector General found that the country’s grants were performing poorly. Overall, domestic financing, community engagement, program implementation, as well as data management arrangements, are ineffective, the report said. However, the OIG assessed financial management and assurance arrangements to be partially effective.


7. FEATURE: German development agency and Global Fund train three more African countries in strengthening health systems

By: Djesika Amendah

The German Agency for International Cooperation GIZ BACKUP Health and the Global Fund offered three countries a training session, in March 2020, aiming to strengthen the in-country capacity to leverage health sector investments to build resilient and sustainable systems for health (RSSH). The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of robust health systems.


8. OF INTEREST: Global Fund issues guidance for countries’ adaptation of programs during the COVID-19 pandemic

By: Djesika Amendah

This ‘Of Interest’ describes four guidance notes issued by the Global Fund Secretariat between 26 March and 7 April 2020 on how to adapt Global Fund grant activities given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.


9. OF INTEREST: News for and about the Global Fund partnership and COVID-19

By: Adèle Sulcas

This edition’s ‘Of Interest’ focuses on two new rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 listed by WHO, Global Fund guidance notes relating to grant adaptations for COVID-19, and the French Development Agency’s announcement of COVID-19-related funds.


This is issue 377 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

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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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