WASHINGTON (November 2, 2012)—Gabriel Jaramillo, General Manager of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), indicated that he is embracing changes urged by AIDS advocates regarding the direction of specific elements of the Fund’s AIDS programs in several countries. In September, groups working through the Fund’s Developing Country NGO Delegation formally submitted issues, concerns questions and comments about the Fund’s operations following Jaramillo’s September report to the Fund’s Board. In a five page letter dated October 29th addressed to Dr. Cheick Tidiane Tall, Coordinator of AfriCASO, an African network of AIDS service organizations based in Senegal, Jaramillo responded, addressing ten specific questions or comments, including questions on the reprogramming of funds, transparency issues in Nigeria and drug stock outs in Guatemala.
In one response on a question of transparency, which had been raised in part by AIDS advocates following questions impropriety in the use of grant money in Nigeria and an overall lack of transparency in that country’s handling of the funds, Jaramillo wrote, “Beyond Nigeria, systemic improvements being developed through the Better Grants project will create clearer linkages between funding, activities and results within each Service Delivery Area to ensure greater transparency in the use of resources across all grants.”
“On the whole, these responses from Gabriel Jaramillo to our and other advocates’ concerns are thoughtful and indicate to many of us that both he and the Fund are more willing to embrace changes that AIDS advocates on the ground and in-country are offering,” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, former Head of the Mexican National AIDS Program (CENSIDA) and current Global Ambassador for AHF. “There are 34 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS today, yet less than 7 million have access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. This means that we are only covering 19% of the population with lifesaving HIV medications. It is imperative that we leverage all resources, such as the Global Fund’s lifesaving grants and programs, in the most efficient manner possible to save as many lives as possible.”
“Over 150 developing countries have received help from the Global Fund in order to fight this epidemic,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Keeping the Fund going in its lifesaving mission, particularly during these turbulent times for the Fund and the world economy, is crucial. We are heartened with Jaramillo’s responses to the issues raised and optimistic that real reform may be put in place.”
The Global Fund is an international organization set up to provide funding to poorer countries that do not have the financial or political ability to combat diseases such as AIDS and malaria. The $21.7 billion Fund relies on the donations of many developed countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Japan and Spain for the money to fund these services. The United States is by far the largest contributor to the Fund.