Myanmar Urges Global Fund To Reconsider Withdrawal of $98M Grant; Donors Discuss How To Bridge Funding Gap
Myanmar has urged the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to reconsider its decision to terminate its grant agreements with the country, BBC News reports (BBC News, 8/23). The Global Fund announced last week it is ending its programs in Myanmar -- also known as Burma -- citing travel and other restrictions implemented by the country's military-controlled government that impede the delivery of medical supplies and services. The fund in 2004 pledged to spend $98 million over five years to fight the three diseases in the country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/22). Myanmar's Country Coordinating Mechanism, which is chaired by the health minister, said in a statement that it "strongly deplores the negative impact [the move] will have on people in need and refutes the reason given for termination" (Associated Press, 8/22). The government restrictions are "only temporary in nature and do not justify irreversible termination of grants," the statement said, adding, "The Global Fund's response is clearly inappropriate" (Xinhua News Agency, 8/23). In addition, the CCM said the termination contradicts the U.N. Millennium Development Goals and urged "the international community to respond positively in the spirit of social justice to this unjust action" (Associated Press, 8/22). Meanwhile, U.N. agencies and international aid donors on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS in Myanmar and began discussing how to bridge the funding gap left by the Global Fund's withdrawal. "It is very regrettable the fund[ing] has been terminated, but it doesn't mean that we can't work in Burma in other ways," Claire Moran, the country's program manager for the U.K. Department for International Development, said (Kazmin, Financial Times, 8/23).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.