New Funding Source May Dramatically Aid Malaria Fight

February 6, 2002
By Michelle Vachon
The Cambodia Daily

Almost $10 million in new funding could help Cambodia reduce its number of malaria cases by 30 percent and halve malaria fatalities by the end of 2007, officials said this week.

As indicated in the 46-page proposal to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which granted the funding last week, Cambodia plans to progress enough in controlling malaria to make it possible for the government to support the program out of its own budget within five years.

On Jan 31, the Global Fund announced on its Web site that Cambodia's grant application had been approved. Totaling $32.5 million to be distributed annually over a five-year period, the grant consists of approximately $14.9 million for HIV/AIDS initiatives and $6.6 million for programs fighting tuberculosis.
 
Last April, Cambodia received $15.9 million from Global Fund to support the HIV/AIDS program for three years. At that time, Cambodia's request for malaria and tuberculosis programs was rejected.

For the second round of grant distribution, the Ministry of Health submitted a much more detailed proposal, said Seshu Babu, malaria control adviser who assisted the ministry in writing the overall proposal as well as the malaria section.

This malaria section was prepared by the National Malaria Center in partnership with Partners for Development and Health Unlimited two NGOs that are involved in malaria programs.

As indicated in the strategy approved by the Global Fund, the center will pioneer an approach to reach remote, malaria-prone areas, Seshu Babu said. In four provinces, NGOs will play a leading role in fighting malaria.

Health Unlimited will work with provincial health authorities in Ratanakkiri and Preah Vihear provinces, and Partners for Development in Kratie and Koh Kong provinces, he said.

Most people in these areas live in or near the forest, which puts them at a high risk of malaria with little or no access to health facilities.

In other provinces, the center will emphasize decentralization, said Center Director Duong Socheat. Provincial malaria authorities have been adapting their programs to their areas, based on the national strategy, he said.

The Global Fund grant will cover programs that are either partially or not supported by other funding agencies. For example, the center's budget for 2003 indicates that $300,000 of the Global Fund's grant and $30,000 of the World Bank's funding will be used for bednet purchases, spraying and distribution. The World Health Organization is giving $20,000 for a research microscope and Global Fund $27,500 for 25 hospital laboratory microscopes.

The Global Fund was set up by donor countries and private organizations to support health programs in developing countries. In this distribution round, 60 countries will share $866 million in grants.