Delays in grant signing threaten service continuity

Officials in Cape Verde have yet to sign their Global Fund Round 8 HIV grant. IRIN therefore reported that, “People living with HIV in Cape Verde are worried that the HIV/AIDS programme may be disrupted by a change in funders. The World Bank pulled out in June after supporting the programme for seven years, and a US$5.3 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has not yet arrived.”

Major staff cuts have occurred in HIV programming, but ARVs may be sufficient until the end of the year.  Even if the grant is signed tomorrow, it is not certain how quickly procurement of HIV drugs and supplies can happen.

This HIV grant is the first and only award Cape Verde has ever received from the Global Fund. The country has not applied for a malaria grant, and WHO indicates that malaria transmission is focal: “Limited local malaria transmission exists on Sao Tiago (Santiago) island from September through November. The transmission is unstable and mainly due to Anopheles Arabiensis. Plasmodium falciparum is the main parasite. Cases imported from the continent are reported regularly.”

Gaps between funders and funding cycles is not uncommon. Ghana experienced such a near miss in its Global Fund malaria grants as one was closing out and the RCC process was not rolling smoothly nor was a new Round funding coming on board quickly either.  A clear lesson is that funding processes are far from QUICK, and countries must plan their funding pipeline far in advance.

People in Cape Verde may die if the gap in ARV procurement opens and widens.  Likewise people may die when there are delays in grant signing for malaria programs.  People will resort to ineffective malaria drugs that are still available or not seek care if private sector medicine sources are too expensive.  All GFATM applicants need to take the grant signing demands seriously, if they hope to protect the lives of their citizens.

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