It never rains but pours for the National Aids Commission (NAC). After being bombarded left, right and center by the civil society in the country for its insensitiveness and carelessness in giving out grants, the Commission has also lost the trust of the Global Fund administrators.
NAC has been stripped off of the principal recipient status of Global Fund grants, which for a long time has enjoyed that, and although Health Minister Dr. Jean Kalilani plays down the development saying it has come about due to the new funding model by the Global Fund the country’s Fund Coordinating Mechanism says NAC failed to meet the criteria.
“Since time in memorial, NAC has been Global Fund principal recipient but this time around it competed with other organizations and was not successful,” said Victor Chiyambi from the coordinating office.
Ironically the new financial requirement is that there are two principal recipients but NAC has failed to have a chance to retain the status raising fears for its existence.
Action Aid and World Vision are the ones that along with the Ministry of Health have been given the mantle to administer the three year US 574.3m grant that the Global Fund has given to Malawi.
Commenting on the change in principal recipients, Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Executive Director Martha Kwataine notes that it is not the first time the Global Fund has taken a bold stand in such matters in the continent.
She observed that the development sends a strong message that it is paramount that those entrusted in managing such funding should refrain from abusing it through political interference or otherwise.
Sadly, Kwataine laments, the development comes with a cost as in trying to reposition itself, NAC will most likely scale down work and in the process some jobs will be lost.
“Recipients have to refrain from abusing donor resources because it impacts on many,” warned the MHEN boss.
The new Global Fund dual funding requirement is now calling for principal recipients from both the government side and the civil society. In the current setting the Ministry of Health has been selected to be government principal recipient for both malaria and the joint TB/Hiv grants to be awarded to implement malaria, TB and Hiv/Aids non bio-medical interventions.
Action Aid and World Vision, which UNaids Country Director Amakode Sande said went through acompetitive bidding selection process for the Principal Recipients (PR), will implement joint TB/Hiv and Malaria non-biomedical interventions.
The UNaids Country Director has explained that the Global Fund does not come up with names of Organizations to take up such a role, but it is rather the individual country’s Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund.
“Such a procedure resulted in the Ministry of Health being selected from the Government side while ActionAid and World Vision from the Non-Government side,” Sande said.
While Chiyambi refused to comment on the possible role of NAC in such a predicament, Sande observed that the fact that the Commission is no longer a PR in the country does not mean that NAC is no longer useless.
“The fact that NAC is not a PR this time around should not throw in questions of what its role will now become because the primary responsibility of NAC is to coordinate and ensure effective multi-sectoral coordination of the Hiv/Aids activities in Malawi,” she argued.
In March last year the Global Fund Secretariat revealed that NAC overall performance was downgraded to ‘inadequate’ mainly due to weakness in its management of finances, expenditure and delays in eternal audit.
And a recent investigative report by the country’s National Audit Office reveal that there is a great political abuse at NAC citing the resources given to State House and Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBF) when Joyce Banda was State President. JBF belongs to the former Head of State.
Recently, some sections in the civil society were up in arms against NAC and the Democratic Progressive Party Government for the assistance that the Beautify Malawi (BEAM) and Mlakho wa Alomwe (MWA) received from the Commission.
BEAM is an NGO for President Mutharika’s ’s wife while the ethnic MWA has great connections with the ruling party. Its first patron was late Bingu wa Mutharika.
There is no immediate reaction from NAC and the civil society.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :