Rwanda, Global Fund team up on new financing mechanism

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the government of Rwanda are leading a new health financing approach that could help the fight against HIV, the Global Fund said on Monday.

A new grant agreement signed on Monday will be used to implement Rwanda's national strategic plan for HIV between 2013 and 2018 with significantly reduced oversight. The approach aligns the plan with existing national systems and strategies and connects future disbursements directly to impact indicators and outcome. The agreement will reduce administrative costs and hold both sides accountable for results.

Rwanda was chosen to pioneer the new model because of its track record of success in financial and health program management.

"This is a great approach," Agnes Binagwaho, the minister of health of Rwanda, "We are confident that we will sustain the universal access to treatment and care, reduce new infections by two-thirds, and halve the number of AIDS deaths in the next five years."

The grant is worth $204 million and gives Rwanda more flexibility on how funds are spent. The funds will be part of a joint investment framework with financial assistance from Rwanda's government and other development partners.

"The main idea of this approach is to empower high-performing countries like Rwanda to further invest for higher impact," Nafsiah Mboi, the chair of the board of the Global Fund, said. "They have proved this is possible, building on an outstanding HIV program, a robust HIV and AIDS national strategic plan, and strong financial and monitoring systems. We are proud to be their partners, and admire their accomplishments."

The Global Fund and Rwanda will jointly verify the achievement of goals related to universal access to HIV treatment and the reduction of new infections for key affected populations.

The Global Fund plans to look into extending the innovative funding approach to other countries, as well as considering it for malaria and tuberculosis grants.