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  + News Title : Global funds N90.3millon controversy
     
  + News Headline : Global funds N90.3millon controversy - Oshotimehin explains NACA's role
     
     
  News Detail
     
  Q: What are the issues raised by Global Funds?

A: The Global Funds said that we did not meet the target and that we did not spend enough in the period under review. We are supposed to have spent 80 per cent. In our submission, we have told them that we had a problem when we first started, because the scheme was new to us, so we did not get the procurement plan in time to begin the purchase of drugs so as to distribute to patients. But from the period when we got the procurement plan approved by the Global Funds, we have gotten crown agents, who procured drugs for us and the drugs have been distributed. At present, we have about 7,000 people who are benefiting from the Global Funds drugs in the country. This happened between April this year and now. This is the explanation we have given to the Global Funds. They also complained that we were using the manual accounting system; we have computerized our system in accordance with their directive. Another complaint was that our reports were late. The last two reports have been on time.

Q: For the purposes of clarity, what is the state of affairs?

A: The state of affairs is that the Global Funds wrote us a letter expressing the concerns I have explained and gave us till November 8 to respond. The CCM replied on November 6. The reply is with them. They are supposed to consider it and come back to us; so we are expecting to hear from them.

Q: There are accusations of financial reporting of the Global Funds by NACA and that the Funds is threatening to stop Nigeria from further access to the N90.3million grant. What is the true picture?

A: The way it goes is this, for the global funds process in any country, there is what we call a Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM). The mechanism seeks proposals, puts them together and sends such proposals to Geneva for consideration. Also, if such proposals are approved, the country coordinating mechanism is empowered to appoint the principal recipient who will receive the money. He has oversight over what happens to the money in the country. Dr. Nasidi is the Chairman of Nigeria's coordinating mechanism, while NACA is the principal recipient for the two HIV/AIDS grants. The Ministry of Health is the sub-recipient. There is also a local fund agent, who is the true representative of the Global Funds in Nigeria , and that is KPMG, an accounting firm.

Q: What is the significance of this year's slogan, 'Stop AIDS, keep the promise?'

A: We hope to bring greater visibility to the issues of women and girls. We are also going to promote the Heart-to-Heart Voluntary Counseling and Testing campaign that will increase access to counseling and testing in the country.

Q: Which promise are we referring to?

A: The promise of keeping AIDS out of our community.

Q: Will the coincidence of the commemoration of the World AIDS Day, and the hosting of ICASA by Nigeria bring any special advantage to the country?

A: This will increase visibility about HIV/AIDS in the country and Africa . It will boost our response.

Q: In specific terms, what will ICASA achieve for the country?

A: ICASA is going to give us an opportunity to showcase our work, our policies. It will create a forum for discussion with our colleagues from other parts of the world. It also provides an opportunity to learn from the experience of other countries that have stepped up treatment. It will further encourage collaboration on the African continent.

Q: There is disparity in the cost of antiretroviral drugs in the country, why is this so?

A: Because of the source of the drugs. Those that cost N1000 are from the government's subsidized treatment scheme, while those that cost higher are from other sources. The plan is to rapidly ensure that drugs can be made available for free. We are working towards that.

Q: How many NGOs are getting funding from NACA at present?

A: We are funding 103 NGOs, but if you add those being funded by our sister organizations in the States, then you have more than 600 NGOs that are getting funding from us.

Q: How would you describe funds allocated to HIV/AIDS in the country?

A: It is not adequate, even though people talk about a lot of funds. The amount of work that we have to do against the amount of resources; how much will be required to place 250,000 people on treatment? Our recording is that each patient will require about $750 a year for treatment and monitoring, so we have to multiply that.

Q: Can you place the funding gap?

A: I can't, because we have not put a cost to the National Strategic Framework, so it is difficult to speak of funding gap.

 

Culled from PUNCH Newspaper