MAKO – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today signed an accord with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to resume a full-scale HIV program including delivery of life-saving HIV treatment to tens of thousands of people in Mali.

Under the accord, the Global Fund approved funding for EUR 58 Million (US$75 million) for HIV screening, prevention and treatment in Mali over the next three years.  Some 50,000 people in Mali are currently living with HIV.

“The signing of this agreement involving the Global Fund, the UN Development Programme and Mali brings hope for many of our citizens who can now say they have not been forgotten,” Mali’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Tiéman Coulibaly said.

The program targets key populations at higher risk and one of its priorities is to intensify efforts to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from mother to child and support more systematic voluntary screening of pregnant women.

The Global Fund and its partners took steps to restore confidence in grant management in Mali after mismanagement of funds was discovered.

As a temporary measure, the scope of the Global Fund’s grant was reduced in 2011 to funding of essential services to ensure continuity of treatment for 25,288 people in Mali who were receiving antiretroviral therapy with Global Fund support. Under the arrangement, it was also possible to start new patients on treatment and the total number on treatment has now risen to 30,000.

UNDP was asked by the Mali Country Coordinating Mechanism to take over managing the HIV program grant.

The Global Fund has since 2011 scaled up mechanisms for management and oversight of grants, while UNDP has further strengthened safeguards against fraud and expanded access by the Global Fund to UNDP internal audits of programs financed by the Global Fund.

“The new funding to expand HIV programs in Mali is a major step forward and underscores the Global Fund’s commitment to support life-saving work in the country particularly at a time when the humanitarian situation requires special attention.  More than 30,000 people in Mali now get regular treatment and another 20,000 people rely on quality care. We expect these numbers to increase,” said Mark Edington, Head of the Global Fund’s Grant Management division.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Mali, Aurélien A. Agbénonci, welcomed the new partnership and said it would be consistent with the country’s national development strategy.

“We also place this intervention in the context of a larger vision and long-term investment in capacity-building, to encourage a national response strategy less dependent on foreign aid in the long-run and therefore more sustainable,” Mr Agbénonci said.

The Global Fund, an innovative public-private partnership, has played a key role in the global response to the three pandemic diseases through a range of partnerships, including with the United Nations. It is the largest international channel of support for work on these diseases, which disproportionately affect the world’s least developed countries.

UNDP acts as Principal Recipient for about one-tenth of the Global Fund’s overall portfolio, mainly in uniquely challenging environments such as in countries emerging from crises.

UNDP’s partnership with the Global Fund has brought treatment to more than 26 million cases of malaria and 700,000 cases of tuberculosis from Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to Liberia, Belarus, Haiti, and Tajikistan.

Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the main financier of programs to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, with approved funding of US$ 22.9 billion for more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries. To date, programs supported by the Global Fund are providing AIDS treatment for 3.6 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 9.3 million people and 270 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria.

The Global Fund has been funding programs in Mali since the December 2003 and has disbursed approximately US$ 90 Million, to provide ARV treatment to 30’000 patients, to detect and treat 17’000 smear positive TB patients and to distribute 720’000 LLINs to population in Mali. In the coming months, the Global Fund expects to sign one Malaria and one TB grant.

A decade ago, virtually no one living with HIV in developing countries had access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy. Now more than 8 million people do.

UNDP works with countries to understand and respond to the development dimensions of HIV and health, and promotes ownership of the response effort by the government and the people, to make it sustainable.

Courtesy AllAfrica News


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