The National Aids Commission (NAC) recently announced that it is applying for about $574 million from the Global Fund that will be used in the fight against HIV, Tuberculosis and malaria in the next three years.
NAC Acting Executive Director Davie Kalomba, told the media that the application has been made in line with Global Fund’s new funding model which started this year.
“Looking at the overall figure that is available in the next three years focusing on the three diseases, we are talking of $574 million and specifically for HIV and Aids we have about $273 million as money for the next three years,” Kalomba said.
He added that the Commission is developing a concept note on the funding for HIV and TB, which will be submitted to the Global Fund in January.
“Once we submit this concept note to the Global Fund and our next window is towards the end of January next year and then the minimum period it takes it is about seven months to process that application in order for us to access the resources,” Kalomba said.
He therefore said, looking at the process, the money will be ready for use towards the end of next year.
So far, so good.
Our concern, here atthe Nyasa Times, is the fact that while NAC is busy soliciting funds from well-wishers, back here at home it is dispensing funds with abandon to organizations whose missions and objectives have nothing to do with fighting HIV, not to say Tuberculosis or Malaria.
NAC recently disbursed MK57.4 million to Beautify Malawi Trust (Beam) – a trust established by the first lady; Mulhakho wa Alhomwe – a tribal sect; and the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) – Malawi’s version of the Gestapo.
Last time we checked, all these three institutions had nothing to do with fighting HIV. Beautify Malawi Trust was established to encourage Malawians to work towards making the country cleaner and healthier via increased access to participatory and improved sanitation and sustainable community management of waste and waste facilities.
While we agree that open waste dumps are primary breeding sites for mosquitoes, houseflies, rodents and other vectors of communicable diseases such as fever, diarrhea, cholera, dysentery and malaria; we find it difficult to believe the yarn by presidential Chief Economic Advisor Dr. Collins Magalasi who is vice board chairperson of the trust, and repeated by the First Lady herself that the deal with NAC was done at arm’s length and without duress.
The Mulhakho wa Alhomwe, other than serving as the Sanhedrin of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and organizing annual ‘topless’ parades, has nothing among its objectives hat remotelyresembles fighting HIV.
With respect to the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) everyone knows that of late, and especially under the DPP leadership, it serves merely as an organ that sees to it that “unexplained” fires, when they happen; remain “unexplained”.
Without complicating matters by adding the fact that reports indicate that NAC money was used by the State House to try and bribe journalists when they wined and dined with the president, we want to mince no words in warning the management and directors of NAC that their behavior will put innocent lives at risk.
The men and women who manage the Global Fund are not idiots and believes us, they can connect the dots and graspwhat is happening to the funds that they generously donate to ease the suffering of the HIV infected and affected in Malawi and to fight the scourge.
What we find most worrisome is that when health institutions /personnel approach the government with any sort of budget for interventions, they are told that “donors” support the health sector and hence health is not this government’s priority.
In the recent Budget statement, the Minister of Finance more or less implied that this administration has delegated the health sector‘s needs to donors.
Now if the president’s wife, the president’s tribal grouping and his spy agency all start dipping their blue fingers in the same kitty funded by donors, we do not know what will become of those affected and infected by HIV.
We do not know what will fuel the fight against new and re-transmissions.
If the president and his cronies are in a self-destruct mode, we urge them to go do their act elsewhere and not engage in this suicide bombing where the sufferers will be those that look to donors.
With respect to NAC, we are aware that its management has of late been under severe undue duress to make funds available to the government and its agencies, hence the suspension of its director among other things.
The way to get that post, we want to advise the acting ED, is by serving professionally and proving your worth. Bootlicking will kill NAC and with NAC’s death the very job you are trying to wrestle at the cost of many innocent lives.
Let sanity reign at NAC.
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