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Global Fund Approves 79 Grants With Two-Year Commitment Of $1.7B

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Board of Directors on Wednesday approved 79 grants with a two-year commitment of “$1.7 billion dollars for projects against the diseases, amid warnings that some hard-hit African countries were being left out,” Agence France-Presse reports. The commitment, according to Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who chairs the Global Fund’s board, “shows that even in hard economic times, we can continue to expand the fight against the three diseases” (12/15).

Of the $1.7 billion approved, $732 million will go towards projects to fight HIV/AIDS, “US$574 for malaria and US$299 million for TB and US$128 million for health systems strengthening,” according to a Global Fund press release. “The 79 proposals which were found to be of sufficient technical quality to be funded constitute a success rate of just over half of the submitted proposals,” the release states.

“It is very positive that Round 10 is fully funded and that we can continue to expand the fight against the three pandemics,” Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine said, according to the release (12/15).

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), however, “said several ‘ambitious proposals’ to tackle HIV/AIDS in the hardest hit sub-Saharan countries were turned down,” AFP continues. “They included additional projects in Malawi, Swaziland, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe that could have scaled up early treatment, cut deaths and ‘aggressively’ reduced the spread of the virus, according to the medical charity” (12/15).

The “rejections will hamper scale up of HIV treatment and implementation of state-of-the art strategies to prevent the spread of the virus,” according to a press release by the group. “These countries are among those hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic, so they must be given an opportunity to put in place programmes that will alleviate this enormous burden,” Jennifer Cohn of MSF said. “It is crucial that countries ensure the money is used to fund the most sound treatment approaches and governments are accountable, but without additional funding, these countries will not be able to turn the tide on AIDS.”

Meanwhile, “MSF is calling on donors to pledge additional funds to fill the US$8.3 billion deficit which resulted from weak donor pledges at the October replenishment conference,” according to the MSF press release (12/15).

Also on Wednesday, the Global Fund “Board adopted a series of measures to enable future funding opportunities, including the launch of Round 11 [grants] on 15 August 2011, with a submission due date for applicants on 15 December 2011,” the Global Fund release adds (12/15).

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