The Global Fund has since 2007 committed a total of $1.7billion in funding to HIV, malaria and tuberculosis with annual contributions to health programmes bigger than the annual health budget appropriated by government.
The Ministry of Health has pledged to ensure transparency in the management
of the funds under the Global Fund.
Global Fund has since 2007 committed a total of $1.7billion in
funding initiatives aimed at curbing HIV, malaria and tuberculosis with annual
contributions to health programmes bigger than the annual health budget appropriated
by the government.
On Wednesday at the celebrations to mark 20 years of the fund’s operations
globally, the Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng guaranteed the donors accountability
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According to Aceng, due to support from the fund to fight HIV, Malaria and
Tuberculosis, Aceng says they have been able to enrol up to 1.3 million people
living with HIV on treatment and also had some 65,000 people access TB drugs
annually. In the financial year 2020/21 alone, Aceng says they were able
to treat and provide care to 12.9 million people who suffered from malaria.
However, over the years, Uganda has had on and off relations with the fund
starting with an audit in 2005 that revealed graft orchestrated by then Health
Minister Jim Muhwezi and his deputies Dr Alex Kamugisha and Mike
The money was briefly suspended but shortly after resuming in 2007, it was
again withheld on grounds of poor performance and misappropriation.
In 2016, another audit by the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), a board
that oversees the use of the money found evidence of mismanagement even as the
fund had earlier adopted a model where the ministry receives only 5% of the
cash and the rest of the money is used by the fund itself to procure the
commodities which are later distributed by the government and private partners.
But, the audit team then found that of all money to the tune of $421 million
released by the Fund between January 2013 and June 2015, only 46% had been
spent. Meanwhile, 70% of the 50 health facilities visited by the investigators
lacked at least one essential medicine with HIV being the most affected.
It was also found that medicines procured at the country level were 36% more
expensive than internationally bench-marked prices and Uganda warned but the
money kept coming to different entities.
According to Dora Musinguzi, the Executive Director UGANET one of
the Civil Society organizations implementing some of the funded initiatives in
HIV says they have received not less than 20 Billion Shillings to mobilize
communities to undertake prevention and treatment interventions.
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She says they have also done a lot of advocacy to demand accountability for the
funds released. It should be noted that civil society only got involved
in Global Fund work after numerous complaints of misuse as the money was
exclusively managed by the government.
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Uganda received the caravan torch from Kenya and will be handed over to
Ethiopia on the 23rd of August. The torch will be moving around countries in
Africa that have benefited from Global Fund until December when it will be
going to South Africa.
While the first twenty years have been focused on initiatives aimed at saving
lives since they came in at the time when anti-retroviral treatments were
largely inaccessible and people were dying unnecessarily, Linda Mafu who heads
Advocacy at the Global Fund headquarters in Geneva says the coming years are
focusing on defeating the three diseases as public health threats.