Global Fund suspects $2.3 million in malaria medication stolen

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria suspects that malaria medication valued at almost $2.3 million may have been stolen from government-run distributions centers in Africa and several other locations.

“The Global Fund suspects its malaria drugs may have been stolen in 13 countries and that 70 percent of the thefts were by insiders at government-distribution centers,” Jon Liden, a Global Fund spokesman, said, according to  

Other countries feared to be affected by malarial drug theft include Tanzania, Togo, Seirra Leone, Swaziland, Nigeria, Kenya and Cambodia.

An investigation is currently underway, and the Global Fund is prepared to take strong and swift action by suspending grants, freezing cash disbursement and demanding a return of misused funds on all confirmed cases, reports.

Additional preventative options being considered include the hiring of new security companies and setting up distribution centers on a temporary basis to operate in lieu of government-run systems in countries where theft is suspected, reports.

There were 247 million cases of malaria and nearly one million deaths recorded in 2008, according to the World Health Organization. Those deaths were mostly among children living in Africa.

To date, the Geneva-based Global Fund has committed $21.7 billion in 150 countries to support large-scale prevention, treatment and care programs against AIDS, TB and malaria.