Thursday, May 10, 2012

Global Fund to Resume Health Grants

Betsy McKay | 09 May 2012 Wall Street Journal Europe The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has boosted its coffers and will resume funding new grants following the launch of a management overhaul prompted by a slowdown in donations and disclosures of some misused grant money. The Geneva-based organization, one of the world's biggest financiers of programs to combat the three infectious diseases, also has cut its work force 7.3% and reorganized to dedicate 75% of its staff to managing grants, up from 40% before the reorganization. The announcement comes just over five months after the organization said it would have to suspend funding new grants until 2014 because it was short of money. The disclosure concerned health organizations that rely on Global Fund grants to buy AIDS drugs, bed nets to combat malaria and other interventions. Now, the Global Fund forecasts that it has about $1.67 billion "to put to work" between 2012 and 2014, Gabriel Jaramillo, the new general manager brought in by the fund's board in February to overhaul the troubled organization, said in an interview. Of that money, $616 million will go to renewals of existing grants whose funds were set to expire and faced potential disruption of services. "We will put one third to work almost immediately," he said. As for the remaining $1.055 billion, "we will be consulting in the next few weeks with countries and partners on the best way to use that money so it provides the greatest impact," Mr. Jaramillo said. Another $500 million has been set aside in contingency money, in case of shortfalls in expected donations, potential exchange-rate losses and other unanticipated expenditures, according to a report to be delivered to the fund's board at a meeting in Geneva on Thursday and Friday.

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