Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria takes steps to fight corruption

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which holds approximately $21.7 billion, and the United Nation’s main development arm have launched new anti-corruption measures after intense scrutiny and stories detailed possible fraud in their grants.

The first steps for the organization include plans to create a panel of high-profile experts to examine the fund’s ability to detect and prevent fraud in its grants, the Morning Times reports.

"Programs supported by the fund have saved seven million lives and are turning back the three disease pandemics around the world," Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, the fund's executive director, said, according to the Morning Times.

Other steps to combat the alleged fraud include doubling the funds of their internal watchdog, hiring more internal financial managers and adding tighter security over training events in which fund investigators have found high levels of fraud.

The Global Fund was created in 2002 to speed up health grants and has given out $13 billion of its $21.7 billion fund, which has sent money to international organizations and health ministries to fight the three diseases.

“When funds intended for lifesaving treatment and prevention are stolen, that theft is tantamount to murder,” Helen Clark, a U.N. Development Program Administrator said, according to The Morning Times.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that Global Fund investigations found that high levels of some of their grants were taken up by corruption, leading to the demand that $34 million be returned. There are currently at least 100 active cases of possible fraud connected to the fund, including the possibility of organized thefts of anti-malarial drugs in countries like Tanzania and Kenya and their sale in Nigeria and Guinea.