Feature story

UNAIDS and Global Fund support countries in west and central Africa to optimise resources for HIV

02 August 2011

L to R: Cyril Dubois, Global Fund’s chief of Division, west and central Africa, Minister of Health and Prevention of Senegal, Mr Modou Diagne Fada, UNAIDS Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Dr Meskerem Grunitzky-Bekele.

UNAIDS and the Global Fund have convened a meeting in Dakar, Senegal, to respond to the increasing need for risk management and accountability related to HIV funding. The event brought together more than 300 participants from countries in West and Central Africa who discussed financial, procurement and supply management risks as well as questions around accountability and governance.

The main objective was to provide organizations which are implementing HIV programmes with a better understanding of risk management to be able to secure funding from the Global Fund.

The meeting was opened by the Senegalese Minister of Health and Prevention, Modou Diagne Fada who announced that the Government of Senegal will gradually increase the proportion of its national budget which is spent on health to 15% by 2015.

Sound risk management is key for the AIDS response since it is an important element for the optimization of resources

UNAIDS Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Dr Meskerem Grunitzky-Bekele

Speaking at the plenary, UNAIDS Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Meskerem Grunitzky-Bekele, highlighted that “sound risk management is key for the AIDS response and crucial to optimizing resources for HIV.”

Participants identified several risk factors such as weak institutional architecture of the national AIDS response; limited availability of qualified personnel and poor financial and accounting management standards. Another risk factor identified relates to investment choices and the need to identify where to invest for a maximum effect and return was highlighted.

“A good understanding of accountability and the importance of proactive and transparent risk management during grant implementation constitute the two essential pillars of sound management that will prevent disruptions from happening,” said Cyril Dubois, Global Fund’s chief of Division, West and Central Africa. “These steps are complementary in order to ensure that the financing provided by donors is used most effectively. Such an approach creates an environment that will ensure that the grants provided to countries fully benefit the populations affected by the diseases,” he added.

Corrective actions were defined together with an action plan to put in place mechanisms and systems for preventive risk management and strengthen accountability at country level. According to the participants, the key elements to overcoming the situation are building countries leadership; providing comprehensive technical support in key areas such financial management, and creating spaces to access capacity development initiatives tailored to countries needs.

UNAIDS provided technical support for risk management through different phases of grants implementation. Over the past year, Guinea, Togo, Niger, Chad, and Central African Republic have received support in adequate budget definition and follow up, financial review and management, or evaluation of risk management-related technical assistance.