Global Fund Observer

The Global Fund Observer is the leading independent voice providing insight, analysis and opinion about the Global Fund.

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As the Global Fund Board meets virtually for the fourth time since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there are several key areas of interest up for discussion that indicate that it may not all be plain sailing.


Never more serious about health financing – with mobilizing increased resources as one of its mutually reinforcing contributory objectives – in January this year the Global Fund established a new Health Financing Department. The aim is to consolidate the various health finance work streams that were previously spread throughout the organization as well as develop new ones that are fit for purpose. The new structure will strengthen capacity in the key thematic areas essential to the Fund’s health financing efforts, particularly given the challenges due to COVID-19.


In this article, we focus on how a COVID-19 Commission of inquiry might work. Broadly, the Commission should investigate the origins of, response to, and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. A senior respected African scientist and a senior respected African politician should jointly head the Commission, supported by members that reflect the face of the African society, including scientists, religious leaders, elected and traditional leaders, and representatives of those who have been affected by the pandemic. The Commission should ideally be housed in an African organisation such as the African Union or the Economic Commission for Africa.


The first 18 months of COVAX distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries have not gone as hoped. As richer countries roll out booster shots, 98% of people in low-income countries remain unvaccinated. The astoundingly unequal COVID-19 vaccine rollout has seen 84.3% of vaccines go to upper-middle- and high-income countries, while just 0.4% go to the world’s poorest. The ambitious COVAX program has contributed just 5% of all vaccines administered globally and recently announced it would miss its two billion target for 2021.. However, even if vaccines are made widely available, African countries still face infrastructure and public perception challenges that will need to be overcome for national roll-out plans to be effective.


In this article, the eighth in a series of articles focusing on the experiences and lessons learned in the application and implementation of the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism grants, we highlight the Nigerian experience. These grants largely supported procurement of health products such as personal protective equipment. However, the grant implementers struggled with procurement-related challenges, partly due to the Global Fund’s requirement to use the funds to procure products solely through during the first phase of implementation, and travel restrictions and lockdown instituted to curtail the spread of the pandemic. The procurement-related challenges contributed to low grant absorption.


The Global Fund views parliamentarians as key influencers in encouraging governments to increase their spending on health.  This is because their position and skill-set means that they are ideally placed to represent the views of interested parties and to influence decision-makers.


A long-awaited and historic moment as the World Health Organization reinvigorates the fight against malaria by recommending a groundbreaking vaccine for children at risk of malaria. However, some practitioners recommend caution in its application.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) held a special session on 7 October to approve the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) for 2022–2026 and its budget for the two years 2022 and 2023. The UBRAF is the overall framework for UNAIDS’ contribution to the global HIV response.