AIDS Healthcare Foundation calls for Global Fund's head to step down

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation recently renewed a call for Michel Kazatchkine to step down as the head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Global Fund has been under pressure to reform itself after incidents of major mismanagement and fraud in several of its programs were revealed. More recently, the Global Fund announced it would not expand any of its programs for two years due to financial considerations and is seeking new management.

The Fund is an international organization that provides money to developing countries that do not have the financial or political ability to combat major illnesses. The $21.7 billion organization relies mainly on the donations of developed countries, many of which have reduced or withheld their contributions.

"Donor countries, voting with their wallets, have stated their lack of confidence in the current Global Fund leadership. The fact that the Global Fund Board feels the need to bring on additional management confirms that current leadership is not up to the task," Michael Weinstein, the president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said. "In order for the Fund to fulfill its desperately needed mission of funding medical care for the world's poor, the Fund must regain that confidence by bringing in new leadership. Once again, we call on the board's executive director, Michel Kazatchkine, to openly step down so that confidence can be restored, and needed reforms may begin in earnest.”

AHF initially called on Kazatchkine to step down in September amid a review that was initially recommended by former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and former Botswana President Festus Mogae. The review found waste, fraud and corruption among Global Fund supported projects in several African countries.