Health Ministry Submits Draft Spending Plan for Diseases

April 3, 2003
By Michelle Vachon
the cambodia daily

The Ministry of Health is still waiting for the first dollar of the Global Fund's $48.4 million pledge for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis programs. In the meantime, all parties in the field—government agencies, donors and other organizations—are working together to find the best formula to use these funds in the most effective way.

And this is no small task, said Sok Touch, director of the Communicable Disease Control Department.

"It's a new process." But in the end, he said, "we will have a better way to manage [programs and grants]."
The work is going in the right direction, as ministry representatives found out last week in Rangoon at the meeting of the Global Fund's Asia Partnership Development.

Since the Global Fund pledged a year ago an initial grant of $15.9 million for HIV/AIDS, and an agreement was signed by the government in February, the ministry has had to prepare a six-month expense plan that includes data from agencies and NGOs in the HIV/AIDS program, said Or Vandine, deputy director of the Communicable Disease Control Department.
Sok Touch and Or Vandine brought their first version of the plan to Rangoon. "We had discussions and were told to send our preliminary plans to KPMG for review," Or Vandine said, referring to the Global Fund's auditing agency in Cambodia.
For the malaria-control program, the agreement has yet to be signed for the five-year grant of nearly $10 million pledged by Global Fund in January, Or Vandine said.

With no date set for the grant to come in, interim funding was secured for activities to continue since the European Commission funding ended at the end of December.

Currently, the World Health Organization is providing small amounts to cover daily expenses, said Doung Socheat, director of the National Malaria Center.

In May, the World Bank should provide $2.2 million, and the British have given $1.2 million for 2003 through 2007, he said.
In line with another Global Fund requirement, the ministry is setting up guidelines and procedures for projects, requesting fund grants to be approved by the Country Coordinating Committee. The committee consists of 27 members representing agencies, NGOs and donors in the three programs, said Roberto Garcia, adviser to the CCC subcommittee, which serves as committee's secretariat.

Health Minister Hong Sun Huot has repeatedly appealed to donors to go through his ministry and national programs before granting NGOs and other organizations money in an effort to avoid creating a parallel health sector in the country.

With this in mind, the approval procedure may include a strong recommendation for fund-seekers to coordinate their plans with agencies of national programs to prevent duplications and to put funds to more efficient use, Garcia said.