By Kondwani Magombo, MANA
The Executive Director of the Global Fund Peter Sands says he has confidence in Malawi Government on the use of funds aimed at fighting HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria given the progress made so far.
Sands made the remarks on Friday in an interview in Yokohama, Japan, after he held a meeting with Vice-President Everton Herbert Chimulirenji on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD7.
The Global Fund executive director said there has been considerable progress in reducing the numbers of deaths and infections in the three diseases in the country.
“I remain confident that the programmes that we are implementing are benefiting the people that we are targeting towards; and you see this in the progress that has been made in reducing both the infections and deaths in the three diseases,” Sands explained.
“We have very rigorous procedures and independent verification of the funds flows and those standards and practices apply in Malawi as they do anywhere else the Global Fund operates,” he said.
Sands further said the Global Fund has always taken zero tolerance approach to corruption and abuse of funds anywhere in the 129 countries it operates in, including Malawi.
He said the Fund was working in partnership with the government and civil society partners to tackle the three diseases.
Sands said he had discussed with the Vice-President the priorities for the next phase where there is need to focus much on prevention and diagnostics.
He said the advocacy that President Arthur Peter Mutharika had supported the Global Fund with had helped in ensuring successful results.
Sands further said the next phase of the Global Fund interventions in Malawi would focus on protecting adolescent girls and young women vulnerable to HIV and malaria.
“On malaria we need to be rolling out the next generation of bed nets because we’re seeing increasing resistance from mosquitoes to the insecticides that we are using for the current generation,” he said.
The Global Fund Country Overview Report on Malawi indicates that the country is making significant progress in the fight against HIV/Aids, TB and malaria.
The report says the total number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy increased from 3,000 in 2003 to 679,050 by December, 2016.
However, the report notes that the country’s health systems remain fragile and that the country continues to face severe staffing shortages in the health sector, with few resources to meet minimum level of health care.