Efforts on to avail of funds under GFATM plan

Kathmandu, November 19:

The initial chance of Nepal availing US$ 4.7 million for the next five years under the Global Fund for Fight Against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis (GFATM) has been temporarily thwarted following a controversial role played by a senior bureaucrat.

But efforts are also underway to avail the fund since GFATM has “encouraged to resubmit within a limited time frame” after realising that “someone somewhere had played a dubious role.” Dr Shyam Sundar Mishra, who was Director of National Center for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC), had allegedly issued a recommendation letter to Family Health International (FHI) to submit a non-CCM proposal under GFATM to avail the same fund “under dubious circumstances.” FHI, an USAID-funded INGO, is now out of the race.

“Dr Sharma should not have issued a letter. He is not supposed to do it. That essentially ruled out the chances of GFATM awarding the fund to any party including Ministry of Health and Population “ said Jagdish Chandra Bhatta, who is one of the 25 members of the Country Coordination Mechanism (CCM) which clears the proposals.

He cited the weaknesses singled out by GFATM in its document available with The Himalayan Times which says two proposals which emanated in Nepal had similar objectives and activities which made it hard to interpret relationship between two parties. While one proposal had gone on behalf of Ministry of Health and Population, the other proposal was from FHI. The funding, if it comes, will be coming during the next fiscal year. When asked to comment on the development Dr Mishra said: “Whatever I had done was done in good intention. The money would still have come into the country even if GFATM had awarded the project to FHI.” He has been alleged of favouring certain controversial NGOs which are working in the area of AIDS control.