Members of the governing board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, meeting this week in Thailand, are expected to delay a call for a fourth round of grant applications because of a lack of funds to support new grants, the Financial Times reports. Fund officials in June said the fund needs at least $700 million more this year to fund the 154 programs in 93 countries already promised money to fight the diseases. The fund has committed $1.5 billion through its first three rounds of grants.
Fund officials say consideration of delaying grant applications is being led by representatives from the United States and the United Kingdom, who object to considering more grants until funds are available for them. The fund had previously considered financing future grants with advance funds. AIDS activists worry that delaying funding proposals will lead to the more rapid spread of HIV and other diseases in already hard-hit areas.
"Getting round 4 of grants started as early as possible is critical" to the World Health Organization's plan to deliver anti-HIV medications to at least 3 million people by 2005, said Jim Kim, adviser to WHO director-general Jong-Wook Lee. "It is time to stop endlessly debating pointless technicalities, bite the bullet, and do it."