THE GLOBAL FUND: Will TGF grants benefit Nepal

It’s high time Nepal reviewed whether it should continue accepting grants from The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as the global agency has tried to limit government control over projects run by multiple recipients, an official said.

Dr Padam Bahadur Chand, Chief of Policy Planning and International Cooperation Division at the Health Ministry, who attended TGF’s 32nd board meeting in Montreux, Switzerland, last week, said TGF wants key roles in handling the grant for external agencies, raising questions about the government’s capacity.

“It is well-nigh impossible to roll out maximum amount of the grant to targeted people as it is chanellsed through multi-layered non-governmental channels,” Chand said.

Saying that India was against TGF grants and Bhutan was facing problems with the global agency, Chand said the government should rethink whether the grants are beneficial in the Nepali context before addressing TGF’s concerns .

TGF rejected Nepal’s concept paper seeking US$ 76 million to fight AIDS and malaria for 2015-17. Terming the paper incomplete and inconsistent, TGF, which had already provided more than US$ 50 million to Nepal in the previous years, has also given its March deadline to reapply for grants from the next window.

“Accepting TGF requirements undervalues the capacity of government mechanism, which has more than 30,000 employees,” Chand said. Though TGF agreed to transitional funding mechanism to continue essential services in the gap period till 2015, the agency has sought government assurance regarding participation of multiple stakeholders in utilising assistance rather than channelising more funds to the government mechanism.

“If TGF persists with stern conditions, the government will seek other alternatives to manage necessary fund for projects on its own,” Minister for Health and Population Khagaraj Adhikari warned at the World AIDS Day function in the Capital.

Former health secretary Dr Praveen Mishra also said the agency always wanted to create parallel structures to undermine government presence in programme areas.

Jagdish Gautam, Programme Management Unit Coordinator at National Tuberculosis Centre said TGF recently suspended Health Research and Social Development Forum, Nepal Anti TB Association, Friends Affected and Infected Together in Hand and Japan-Nepal Health and Tuberculosis Research Association from its list of sub-recipients. Britain-Nepal Medical Trust was also restricted to handling only the TB drug resistance part. “They have also been asked to refund more than 6 million rupees to TGF,” sources said.

Meanwhile, civil society members have submitted suggestions to the Country Coordinating Mechanism demanding compliance with TGF guidelines and policies.

They also demanded a high level committee to monitor primary as well as sub-recipients and other donor-supported programmes on AIDS, TB and malaria.

Source: THT