Transparency and Accountability

measles-immu-cote-divoire-who.jpgAlthough we do not have a malaria vaccine ready for widespread use, it is instructive to learn about how the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) plans for its financial future. The BBC Reports that GAVI “needs more than $4bn (£3bn) by 2015. This would enable it to continue existing programmes and roll out new vaccines against diarrhoea and pneumonia. But there are fears donors may want to cut back in the current climate.”

A new development is greater scrutiny by donors. BBC adds that, “In March, the UK pledged £150m to Gavi over 10 years. £10m has already been paid out, but there are plans to review all funding of international agencies – of which GAVI is one – as part of a drive to direct money at only the most effective organisations, a spokesperson confirmed.”

Specifically Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) announced on 3rd June 2010 that, Full transparency and new independent watchdog will give UK taxpayers value for money in aid.” International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, explained that, “We can’t escape the fact that today’s fiscal landscape is radically different from what has gone before. There is a massive deficit, which it is our number one priority to tackle. Against this backdrop our protected aid budget imposes a double duty to ensure that for every pound of taxpayers’ money we spend, we demonstrate 100 pence of value.”

Mitchell described further plans to move aid away from middle income countries. “We will spend the money on our priorities such as maternal health, fighting malaria, and extending choice to women over whether and when they have children.” Other budget cutting measures were identified. The Global Fund was not mentioned by name in the speech.

He also expressed agreement with the new approach of USAID and said, “Women can hold the key to development in the world’s poorest countries – in education, enterprise, micro-finance and healthcare. Investing in women pays dividends throughout the entire community.”

GAVI’s concerns ultimately have to do with the stability of funding. In its action agenda for achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) UNDP pointed out that, “Well-targeted and predictable aid is a critical catalyst for meeting the MDGs and has produced significant results in Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Vietnam by making more resources available for service delivery.”

UNDP also indirectly warns about dependence on aid: “Evidence, however, also suggests that countries need to expand their own domestic resource mobilization and to adjust their budgets to ensure maximum return on their investment.”

This period of economic uncertainly has produced one certainty – soul (and pocket) searching is needed by governments – both of donor countries as well as disease endemic countries – if programs are going to be sustained to the point of disease elimination.

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