Committee Fine-Tuning Proposal for Global Fund Grant

The Country Coordinating Com­­mittee will be working on deadline this afternoon as members have a final look at the latest grant proposal that must be sent to the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria no later than Saturday.

For malaria, the country will ask for $5.2 million over a five-year period, said Duong Socheat, director of the National Malaria Center. This would be used for information and education campaigns as part of the country’s strategy to control the disease, he said.

“A large number of people at high risk of malaria live in remote areas,” Duong Socheat said. “We need to make a special effort to go and visit them” to let them know what causes the disease and how to protect themselves, he said.

The 27 committee members, representing agencies, NGOs and donors, have to decide how much to request for HIV/AIDS efforts, and to review a request of about $1.3 million over two years to improve health care for pregnant women and children.

Eleven partners have worked together on the malaria proposal, Duong Socheat said. Apart from the Ministry of Health, the government side includes the Min­istry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Education, which plan to get women, teachers and students involved in malaria prevention programs; and the Min­istry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior, which intend to run information campaigns for police and military staff working in remote and border areas.

NGOs include Health Un­limited, Partners for Develop­ment, Nomad, World Education, Population Services International, and the Cambodian Develop­ment and Relief Center for the Poor.

The Global Fund was set up by donor countries and private organizations at the end of 2001 to support health programs in developing countries.

In January, the fund approved Cambodia’s proposal for $32.5 million over five years—with $14.9 million going to HIV/AIDS programs, $6.6 million to tuberculosis, and $9.98 million to malaria. In April 2002, the fund had granted $15.9 million to HIV/AIDS programs for three years.

Cambodia is still waiting for the malaria-grant agreement to be signed. The agreement on HIV/AIDS has been signed, but no money has been distributed.

In the meantime, the rainy season has started, creating  conditions for malaria-transmitting mosquitoes to thrive.

Functioning on emergency funding from the World Health Organization, with support from World Bank and the US Agency for International Development, malaria-control program has been reduced to a minimum, Duong Socheat said.

“We are distributing the bed nets we had at the center, and combination-drug supplies have been sent to the provinces. But we are very concerned,” he said.

The government has appealed to the World Bank for additional help, but has not received an answer, he said.

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