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Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 00:27 | SYDNEY
Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 00:27 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Indonesia AIDS funding

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27 June 2008 11:19

Dave Burrows from AIDS Project Management Group has this response to my post (my response follows):

I agree with Bill Bowtell that the German debt for health swap is an intelligent way to deal both with Third World debt and the need for global HIV funding. But it should perhaps be footnoted that the Indonesians in particular have not fared well with HIV grants from the Global Fund.

Despite winning 2 grants totalling US$73m, difficulties with management and transparency of funding and programming decisions have led to delays, reduction of projects and ultimately withdrawal of funds. A modest Round 1 five-year grant of US$7.8m began in June 2003 and by June 08 had only expended US$5.7m. The more ambitious $65m grant starting in June 2005 expended only $22m to date and more than $11m was removed from Phase 2 of the grant. (These figures are from the Indonesia files on the Global Fund website.)

This has occurred despite large and expensive bilateral HIV programs from the Australian and US governments, whose goal is said to be assisting the Indonesian society — government and non-government entities — control the country's HIV epidemic. It is to be hoped that the new AusAID program for Indonesia leads to a better result the next time the country wins a Global Fund HIV grant.

Dave Burrows makes very sound points about the chequered history of previous Global Fund grants to Indonesia. However, under a revamped and re-energised leadership, Indonesia has this week submitted a comprehensive and large grant proposal covering AIDS, TB and malaria programs which will shortly be considered in the Global Fund Round 8. 

There will always be problems in administering and managing grant funds in such a large and complex country as Indonesia, where health and development challenges are so immense. But this is a reason to increase the size of all forms of assistance and support, not to decrease or suspend it as happened with a Global Fund grant last year. 

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