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Calls for negotiated Nac, Global Fund relationship

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Parliamentary Committee on HIV and Aids and Nutrition Chairperson, Deus Gumba, and the Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) have called on the government to renegotiate terms with the Global Fund, with the view of making National Aids Commission (Nac) the principal recipient of Global Fund grants again.

The government established Nac as a public trust in July 2001 to provide overall leadership and coordination of the national response to HIV and Aids and the commission had been a principal recipient until 2015 when the Global Fund dropped it for failing to meet criteria for funding.

The Global Fund’s decision to strip the commission of its principal recipient status came after a number of reported political and non-political abuse of financial resources at the commission, including the funding of Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust of First Lady Gertrude Mutharika.

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Gumba said, while the contribution of international organisations in the response to HIV and Aids is commendable, Nac should be at the centre of funds distribution to ensure the effectiveness of the response.

“The National Aids Commission is a custom-made framework in HIV and Aids response. Today, its structures span across the country. I am, therefore, calling upon the government to renegotiate with the Global Fund the position of the commission with a view to get it back on board as its fund manager.

“This is bearing in mind that the government has spent resources on fixing the organisational management gap at the commission which, understandably, has been the major Global Fund concern,” Gumba said.

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Mhen Executive Director, George Jobe, concurred with Gumba, asking the government to explain to Global Fund officials that issues that led to the dropping of Nac as principal recipient have been addressed.

Currently, the principal recipients of the Global Fund grants are the Ministry of Health and Population and international non-governmental organisations, namely World Vision and Action Aid.

While recognising the role that Nac plays in the HIV and Aids response, Ministry of Health and Population spokesperson, Joshua Malango, said the ministry has no problem with the current financial arrangement.

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