Officials Undaunted by Rejection of Malaria Grant Request

May 2, 2002
By Matt Reed
The Cambodia Daily

One week after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria turned down a proposal for more than $3 million in funding to help fight malaria in Cambodia, a top Ministry of Health official said Wednesday that the country will likely send a second proposal in the coming months.

Dr Mean Chhi Vun, director of the National Center for HIV/ AIDS, Dermatology and STD, said Cambodia has not yet received official word on whether its request for $3.5 million to help malaria programs and $2.7 million for tuberculosis control over the next three years has been approved or denied.

But when funding awards were announced Thursday, the Global Fund' s Web site said that close to $16 million will be sent to Cambodia over the next three years for HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs. The Web site listed only those funding proposals that were approved.

A second round of grants could take place in October, Mean Chhi Vun said.

" I hope the Global Fund will tell us what went wrong and what could be improved for the next round,"  Mean Chhi Vun said. "We will apply again."

One health NGO official expressed disappointment this week that the malaria proposal was unsuccessful. "This is a sensitive subject now,"  said another NGO official.

Michael Chommie, director of NGO Partners for Development said he had thought Cambodia's malaria proposal was "very realistic and decent."

"We will try to figure out what happened in those closed-door sessions" where the decisions were made, he said. "We will all reconvene after we get some feedback. I am hoping we can submit something again in September."

The proposal, sent to the partnership of public and private institutions in March, would have provided extra money to programs now managed by the National Malaria Center and NGOs Health Unlimited, Nomad, the Cambodian Medical Services Support Organization and Partners for Development. Much of the new money would have been used to fight malaria in Ratanakkiri, Mondolkiri and Kratie provinces.

Cambodia also has one of Asia's worst malaria problems.

As many as 90 percent of the country's deaths from malaria are left uncounted, officials have said.

But the World Health Organization, the European Union and the government have made a concerted effort to monitor and fight the disease. More than a half million mosquito bed nets have been distributed in recent years.

The Global Fund was created last year with $2.08 billion in donations and pledges from nations, corporations and foundations.

Approximately $700 million is expected to be handed out this year, with last week's awards marking the first round of grants.

Thirty-one countries received a total of $378 million to be spent over the next two years, a Global Fund statement said. The grants were selected from more than 300 submitted proposals.