Fighting AIDS, TB, malaria: More funds possible if Pakistan streamlines allocation process

Published: September 7, 2012
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Provincial governments do not receive any direct grant from international agencies. PHOTO: FILE

Provincial governments do not receive any direct grant from international agencies. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Lack of a streamlined allocation mechanism is costing Pakistan additional funds to fight the deadly AIDS, TB and malaria.

Dr Werber Buehler, the Fund Protocol Manager for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — or simply the The Global Fund — on Thursday said they are willing to increase the funds for the three programmes if the federal and provincial governments streamline the process of funds allocation.

“We want a single programme unit in each province to deal with all three programmes. We want the federal and provincial governments to have a concerted dialogue to sort out a solution for the funding mechanism, which is the key to determine the future line of action,” he added.

He was talking to The Express Tribune following a workshop for stakeholders and implementers of The Global Fund grants.

Representatives from various organisations and government departments attended the workshop, during which they shared the issues they were facing after the health ministry’s devolution under the 18th Amendment.

Currently, the funds are received by the federal government and private organisations, while the provincial governments do not receive any direct grant from international agencies.

“In future, Pakistan can get more funds as there is an urgent need to fight TB, HIV and malaria.”

Dr Buehler said they are working with the government to hammer out a feasible mechanism to streamline the funding process, as it has been disturbed due to the health ministry’s devolution. Currently, the Global Fund is providing Rs16.3 billion for three programmes, while a total of Rs33.12 billion have been spent since 2002, he explained.

He added that Pakistan is facing various health-related challenges and the government cannot rely on foreign donations alone.

The government will have to increase the money it is spending on various health programmes, Dr Buehler said. “Pakistan should take more steps to improve the living standards of its people, as most diseases originate directly from poverty,” he remarked.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2012.

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