1. COMMENTARY: The Global Fund and other global actors need to ensure countries uphold human rights when responding to COVID-19
In a bid to ensure citizens enjoy their right to health, most countries have adopted various measures, such as restrictions on movement, curfews, and lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, there are human rights concerns regarding the manner in which some countries are implementing containment measures. The Global Fund has provided a guidance note to its grant implementers to ensure that they uphold human rights when combating COVID-19. However, even in Global Fund-supported countries, there are human rights concerns such as the excessive use of force and of humiliating punishments by the authorities, who claim that people are violating measures meant to contain the spread of the virus.
2. ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: “The TRP is still reviewing a number of gender-blind funding requests”
Promoting and protecting human rights and gender equality is a strategic objective of the Global Fund. However, despite efforts to mainstream gender in tools and grants, too little attention is paid to it. Country dialogue and grant-related processes provide frameworks for involving gender specialists and adolescent girls' and women's health care actors. However, certain prerequisites are necessary: training members of the Country Coordinating Mechanisms and disease programs, understanding local gender realities, and forming alliances with grassroots female civil society organizations.
3. NEWS: New HIV infections and HIV-related deaths are on the rise in Pakistan, says OIG
In its second routine audit of Global Fund grants in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found significant challenges in the TB and HIV responses. The audit found that the TB case detection rate was slowing down while new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths were on the rise, in contrast to global trends.
4. NEWS: OIG investigation of Global Fund grants to Sierra Leone finds fraud, collusion, and non-compliant procurements
The Office of the Inspector General has published its report on fraud, collusion, and non-compliant procurement in the Global Fund’s grants to Sierra Leone. Sub-recipients of the National AIDS Secretariat’s HIV grant contravened the contractual agreement when procuring vocational training and start-up-kits. They exceeded the procurement limit stipulated in their contracts. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation’s TB and malaria grants had irregular procurements, which resulted in grant overcharge. The Community Health Worker’s training and allowances displayed irregularities which resulted in non-compliant expenditure worth $21 218. Also, the OIG noted oversight weaknesses on the part of the Fiscal Agent.
5. REPORT: COVID-19 disrupts implementation of Global Fund grants and development of funding requests
Recent surveys by the Global Fund and the Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organizations show that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the delivery of HIV, TB and malaria services. The pandemic has also disrupted constituency engagement and the development of funding requests in Anglophone Africa. Countries need to devise new and innovative approaches to service delivery to ensure continued program implementation.
7. NEWS: The Grant Operating System of the Global Fund is “partially effective,” says OIG
The office of the Inspector General has found the Grant Operating System of the Global Fund Secretariat to be “partially effective”.
8. OF INTEREST: The Global Fund adds three new priority areas of matching funds
The Global Fund has added HIV testing, condom programming, and tuberculosis preventive treatment for people living with HIV to its HIV prevention strategic priority areas to receive matching funds for 2020–2022 cycle. This is in addition to the strategic priority areas for the 2017–2019 cycle. For the 2020–2022 cycle, the application for the matching funds is integrated in the main funding request, as opposed to separate requests during the 2017–2019 cycle.
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