Our colleagues at the West Africa Regional Network (WARN) of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership have been deliberating on the challenges facing countries in signing their Global Fund Grant Agreements. Many people do not realize that even when the GFATM Board approves a grant proposal, the grant does not become effective until a country prepares plans for implementation.Â Only after such are approved, is the grant signed.Â Below are observations and concerns from the WARN Secretariat.
Only two countries in West Africa were able to sign round 10 (Sierra Leone and Cap Verde). WARN noted that the countries that did not sign Round 10 or phase 2 of their grant registered significant delays due to:
- Lack of understanding regarding the conditionality to be fulfilled before the signing
- Cumbersome administrative procedures and communication bottlenecks between the countries and the Global Fund during negotiations
WARN Recommendations to the countries, Partners and PRs:
- Secure the support of the network of partners all throughout the negotiations process
- Involve local partners and WARN in the final grant negotiations with the Global Fund
WARN Recommendations to the Global Fund:
- Send a team to the relevant countries to explain conditionality and make proposals for immediately resolving problems encountered
- Send clearly stated correspondences to the countries and RBM partners indicating the planned date or period for the signing, failing which, the Portfolio Manager should provide the countries with explanations for the delay in the signing
It is likely that WARN is not the only region experiencing these problems.Â As international funding support for malaria programs is threatened, Global Fund needs to ensure that whatever is available reaches those in need in a timely manner.