Nepal’s HIV/AIDS program under stress

Nepal’s HIV/ AIDS Program under stressed due to uncertainty on Global Fund grants

Dec. 3, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 08 No. -11 November. 21- 2014 (Mansir 5, 2071)

At a time when Nepal government is unable to meet the budget needs of Ministry of Health and Population, uncertainty on The Global Fund Grants has badly hampered the programs in HIV/AIDS, Tuberclosis and Malaria.

With the rampant corruption on the utilization of TGF by the government agencies, the agency has sought limited control of the government over the projects run by multiple repents.

Nepal is one of the major beneficiaries of Global Fund in the areas of preventing HIV/AIDS and Malaria. In a recent TGF’s 32nd Board meeting in Motreux Switzerland, TGF has made clear that it wants to major role in handling the grant for external agencies.

“TGF said it wants key roles in handling the grant for external agencies questioning about the government capacity,” said Dr. Padma Bahadur Chand, chief of Policy, Planning and International Cooperation Division at the Ministry of Health and Population.

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

Ministry of Health and Population is facing the sever crisis of budget. Last month the Health official deputed at Tribhuwan International Airport and other border areas to check Ebola outbreak pulled out due to failure to provide additional benefit announced by the Ministry.  In this situation, TGF grants withdrawal will have unbearable consequences to Nepal. Although officials at the Ministry of Health and Population are rejecting to address TGF’s concern, it will likely that global agencies will pull out from Nepal.

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.

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.

Blaming the mismanagement in handling the TGF grant by the government, 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 programs on AIDS, TB and malaria.

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 utilizing assistance rather than channelizing more funds to the government mechanism.

Instead of addressing the concern of TGF, Minister of Health and Population Khagraj Adhikari and other senior officials are issuing threat to TGF. In this scenario, Nepal will likely to loss TGF grant.

 

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