Global Fund Rejects Cambodia’s Request for HIV/AIDS Money

Cambodia will receive no money from the 10th round of Global Fund grants after proposed programs to combat HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis were turned down.

Over the past decade, the fund approved 15 proposals from Cam­bodia, including two submitted in 2009, totaling more than $350 million, according to the fund’s website.

“Obviously, it is very disappointing that funds were not made available, but it’s not an entire disaster,” said Pieter Van Maaren, World Health Or­ganization country representative.

Criticism of Cambodia’s applications focused on technical aspects of the plans, such as insufficient detail on aims of proposed large-scale training, he said, noting proposals would be improved and resubmitted in the next round.

Cambodia requested $190 million to implement a national strategy to combat TB and to reach populations vulnerable to HIV infection, including sex workers, intravenous drug users and men who have sex with men, copies of proposals said.

Tia Phalla, vice chairman of the National AIDS Authority, said discussions would identify gaps resulting from denied requests, including one from the NAA for a budget to coordinate activities. “I’m frustrated in a sense that support for coordination was not provided by the Global Fund round 10.”

An audit conducted by Global Fund’s independent inspection body in 2009 found deficiencies in the management of the first 13 grants by the Health Ministry and national centers responsible for the diseases.

Against Global Fund principles, separate structures parallel to national ones managed funded programs, and when support increased over the years, there was a gradual reduction in government and other partner support, a copy of the audit said.

Also there was poor delegation of authority and failure to comply with work plans, the audit said, noting that most payments were made in cash and some health products, meant to be provided for free, were sold.

Mr Phalla said institutions were responding to concerns raised by the Office of the Inspector General. “Cambodia has very little deficiency compared to other countries.”

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