A New Beginning, a New Funding Model

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2009 file photo, a merchant speaks with a woman holding her ill child at a pharmacy in Pailin, Cambod
FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2009 file photo, a merchant speaks with a woman holding her ill child at a pharmacy in Pailin, Cambodia. The future of a pricey malaria program meant to provide cheap drugs for poor patients may be in jeopardy after health officials clashed over its effectiveness in two new reports. In 2010, the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria was started by groups including United Nations agencies and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It was a pilot project to subsidize artemesinin combination drugs. Most of the drugs bought were sold in the private sector, where there are few controls on who gets them. But in October 2012, a report by Oxfam, an international charity, labeled the program a failure and said there was no proof it had saved lives because officials didn't track who received the drugs. (AP Photo/David Longstreath, File)

One thing that has become clear in recent years is that people can be more effective at complex tasks when there is an open and unhindered flow of ideas and viewpoints and information.

The best workplaces are those where every staff member is encouraged and recognized for coming forward with constructive ideas and suggestions. Whether you think of that as a 'flat' organization or as one without walls, the benefits are obvious. People are more effective and engaged, and innovation can emerge more easily.

In development work, such as work supported by the Global Fund to help prevent and treat infectious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, it is essential that human interaction and information flow can flourish. Health workers and administrators and technical experts have to work in partnership to be effective.

At the Global Fund, we launched a new funding model this week that is built to capitalize on open interaction and information flow. With more open dialogue between cooperative partners, we can more effectively confront and ultimately defeat these terrible diseases.

Our goal with a new funding model is to achieve greater impact in the lives of people affected by HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria. I am fully confident that we will succeed at that.

The cornerstone of our new approach is continuous communication. It starts with dialogue among partners who are working together on any specific project. When a country wants to seek funding to help fight AIDS or TB or malaria, the conversation continues and the Global Fund can help make sure that the right partners are discussing the context and specific circumstances to support any country in its efforts to achieve maximum impact.

The new funding model also provides countries that implement grants with more flexibility around when they apply for funds, as well as more predictability on the level of funding that will be available. At the same time, the new funding model encourages health administrators in any country to evaluate and then express how much overall funding they need to effectively treat and prevent AIDS, TB and malaria.

When we looked at which countries to start our new funding model with, we gave priority to country programs positioned to achieve rapid impact, to those facing service interruptions that might threaten the lives of people currently on treatment, and also to those that are currently receiving less than they would under the new funding model's allocation principles.

In 2013, we expect to begin this process with new grants in Zimbabwe, El Salvador, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kazakhstan and the Philippines. We also continue to grant money to effective programs in nearly 150 countries, and many of those existing grants may be redesigned or renewed in line with efforts to have a holistic, programmatic approach that emerges from on-going dialogue.

We are focused on helping accelerate current programs that are already highly effective, and can translate funding into human impact. Every country must get a chance to engage a diversity of partners, including civil society, to use the best epidemiology and scientific data possible to achieve maximum impact.

Maybe most important of all, our collective work can really improve our broader societies by helping those people who are most vulnerable -- the people who often get marginalized and discriminated against. Where we achieve that, it is a meaningful gain for us all.

The new funding model offers a special opportunity for countries and partners to learn and adapt. During this year, we will monitor various aspects of the new funding model process so that we can adapt in real time. We are a learning institution and we will gain insight and knowledge as we work together.

I know the new funding model will make a significant difference in the lives of millions of people who are affected by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. As long as we all keep growing and learning, we can affect even more.