Fund Pauses Making New Grants, Seeks New Manager; Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine’s Continued Tenure Impedes Progress, Erodes Confidence Needed to Sustain Funding, says AIDS Healthcare Foundation
By AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today renewed its call for Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to step down as head of the international organization which provides funding to developing countries that do not have the financial or political ability to combat diseases such as AIDS, TB and malaria. AHF renewed its call in the wake of reports that the Fund will temporarily cease making new grants due to budgetary restrictions, and will seek a new manager to help administer the Fund.
The Global Fund is one of the world’s leading funders of medical programs for less developed countries which may not have the resources or ability to provide care for their people. The $21.7 billion Fund relies on the donations of many developed countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Sweden for the money to fund these services. Many donor countries have reduced or withheld contributions to the Fund, prompting it to cancel making any new grants until 2014.
“Donor countries, voting with their wallets, have stated their lack of confidence in the current Global Fund leadership. The fact that the Global Fund Board feels the need to bring on additional management confirms that current leadership is not up to the task,” said Michael Weinstein President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). AHF provides care and treatment to over 123,000 people with HIV/AIDS worldwide, at its medical clinics in 26 countries. “In order for the Fund to fulfill its desperately needed mission of funding medical care for the world’s poor, the Fund must regain that confidence by bringing in new leadership. Once again, we call on the Board’s Executive Director, Michel Kazatchkine, to openly step down so that confidence can be restored, and needed reforms may begin in earnest. Kazatchkine must also stop negotiating with the Board to obtain an extension or a different role in the organization as it is extremely important that an organization like the Global Fund retain an Executive Director who is the sole head of the Fund.”
On September 21, 2011, AHF publicly called on Mr. Kazatchkine to step down in the wake of a review of the Fund that found a number of financial and management shortcomings. The review, done at the request of the Global Fund was the product of a panel lead by former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and former Botswana President Festus Mogae. In addition, reports of waste, fraud, and corruption of Global Fund funded programs in Mali, Mauritania, and Zimbabwe, had previously lead countries such as Germany and Denmark withholding their contributions.
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AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 123,000 individuals in 26 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org