‘Nigeria falls short of Global Fund expectations’

Buhari

Buhari

The Country Director, Nigeria, Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM), Dr. Dauda Sulaiman Dauda, has disclosed to The Guardian that Nigeria, as the largest recipient of the Global Fund in Africa, is not meeting expectations of the Fund.

This he related to the numerous challenges faced by the country’s CCM. “We have not been able to really make the impact the funding available for Nigeria is supposed to make”, and as the second largest recipient in the world, “there are lots of expectations from Nigeria,” Dauda said.

Dauda said this during the CCM’s 48th General Meeting and Retreat in Lagos.

Following the election of new members in February 2015, the Country Director said the five days retreat served as a good platform to orientate them, as well as bring together both old and new members.

It has also created an avenue to “address lots of pending, outstanding and emergent issues.”

The theme for this year’s retreat is “Breaking Challenges For Improved Implementation and Absorptive Capacity.”

He pointed out that the choice of the theme was because of concerns that have been communicated to Nigeria, by the Global Fund team in Geneva, Switzerland.

He remarked, “So the theme we chose specifically because we wanted to use this retreat as the avenue to which we can come together to see how we can start to break through these challenges to achieve the impact that we desire.”

He expressed regrets saying, “The CCM has been depleted, as a result of the resignation of important people like the Former Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, who was CCM’s former Chairman. “This has lead to challenges in defining and cementing the relationships between us and the country team in Geneva, Switzerland.”

While expressing high hopes of performance from the new members, Duada cited mismanagement of fund as part of their major challenges, “funds are mismanaged either by applying processes that are not too transparent in their procurements or carry out activities that is not approved for that particular funding.”

“We are trying to follow places were such mismanagements have been to the end to ensure these funds are refunded, before the Global Fund license the whole country,” he added.

Also at the event was the Executive Secretary, CCM, Dr. Fatai Bello, who revealed that Nigeria was the highest donor for Africa at the recent Replenishment Session of the Global Fund in Washington in December 2013, with $30 million.

Nigeria has the largest CCM in the world with a 30-member organization, with membership cutting across various stakeholders.

When our correspondent inquired if Nigeria’s largest donation qualified her for the largest grant received, he responded with “Nigeria has one of the largest grants in the world due to the high disease burden rate.”

“With her, next to South Africa in Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) prevalence, the high prevalence rate of malaria and Tuberculosis, killing about 300,000 Nigerians each year.”

Also “the challenge of proper documentation remains with the system, and the accountability process too has always been a problem as well,” he lamented.

A Representative on the CCM from Network of People Living With HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Ibrahim Umoru, relatively expressed disappointment, “When Global Fund is diverted, the people who are supposed to benefit from these services are the ones that suffer, because this fund is meant to buy drugs and other commodities and other services., it also has negative implication on the grant implementation, so as the receivers of services.”

He noted, “Nigeria in the mist of these mismanagements, is under the threat of Global Fund to take the sum of five million dollars from the present grant of 1.2 billion dollars.

Umoru explained: “That is why the board is insisting that whoever is making plans not to return recoveries will be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as Global Fund has a standing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EFCC towards checkmating this kind of trend.”

He however showed concerns that “If there are risk in reduction of donor funding, it will definitely affect Nigeria because presently in terms of HIV/AIDS, Nigeria contributes 10 per cent to the global funding, and “as bad as that is the Nigerian support to the national response is donor driven, so any threat from donors is a threat to our lives.”

CCM does not get any subvention from the government, because the government has not formally recognized it and until the country takes ownership, these problems will persist.

The NEPWHAN Representative appealed to president Buhari to create the change to make the biggest contribution to health. “It is unacceptable to see donor come to upgrade our facilities for us.”

The United Nations (UN) set up the Global Fund, in 2002 to Fight HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. It is the world’s largest financier of anti-AIDS, TB and malaria programs and by mid-2012 has approved funding of 22.9 billion US Dollars that supports more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries.



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