The approach of World Malaria Day 2012 has seen a flurry of activity in the UK Parliament around global health concerns, with both the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases and the International Development Committee (IDC) hosting sessions on the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
On 17 April, the IDC was treated to one of the first public appearances by the Global Fund’s new general manager, Gabriel Jaramillo. Only nine weeks into the job, Jaramillo has implemented a raft of reforms to address donors’ anxieties relating to the management structure and effectiveness of the Global Fund. Perhaps naturally for an experienced businessman who cut his teeth at Banco Santander and Sovereign Bank in the Americas, Jaramillo’s first step was to reduce the fund’s bureaucratic staff by 38 percent in order to ensure that 75 percent of all staff are involved in facilitating grant management in recipient countries.
This should go some way to satisfying the concerns that a lack of Global Fund human resources in-country are an obstacle to the implementation of grant projects. Likewise, Jaramillo’s commitment for senior management to sit down every month with partners in the field to ‘review the war against malaria’ will increase the Global Fund Secretariat’s awareness of the realities on the ground in endemic countries and of the problems faced by prime and sub-recipients alike.
Jaramillo’s impact looks set to crystallise donors’ re-engagement with the Fund, with Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, stating that the UK’s financial commitment to the Global Fund will ‘in the right circumstances, significantly increase’, potentially by the ‘turn of the year'. Alan Court, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Malaria, pointed out to the IDC, the G20 in June offers a 'wonderful opportunity' for the UK to use its undoubted leadership position of the Global Fund to leverage further commitments from donor governments. With the Global Fund accounting for approximately 60 percent of global malaria finances, those involved in the fight against malaria wait expectantly for the international response.
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