Global Fund (PPAG)

Interview with Dr. Naa, CEO of WAAF

By Brittany Pruitt ( Intern Sept – Dec 2012)

In 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria began in Ghana. In an effort to raise accountability and improve dual-track financing, the Global Fund in 2008 invited interested civil society organizations in becoming Principal Recipients to apply for this position which eventually led to  PPAG, Adventist Development and Relief Agency-Ghana, the Ghana Ministry of Health, and the Ghana Aids Commission all becoming principal recipients of Global fund monies.

The West Africa AIDS Foundation saw the Global Fund’s presence as an opportunity to build a long term partnership with  organizations that share  the purpose of fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS.  Since it’s founding in Ghana the only principal recipient was the Ministry of Health. The Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana was advocated for by WAAF and many other CSO’s to become principal recipient and lead organization for the group.

Working with the Global Fund supported group of CSO’s including WAAF  in various ways. This partnership would make  it possible for many CSO’s  to,  for the first time, experience joining a 5 year funding project, which provided a contrast to the many short lived, year-long projects where a lot of work and reporting is done, but when the project ends there is a gap in development left behind. Dr. Naa stated, “The global Fund funding goes in phases. Phase 1, which is made up of 2 years and Phase 2, which is made up of 3 years”. The first two years were implemented and WAAF continued implementing activities that would continue to contribute to the fight against HIV and AIDS such as community health screenings, in-school and out-of-school education, as well as follow indicators and targets given by the Global Fund and PPAG.

The number of people becoming aware of their HIV status increased through the program, those  that will need to be enrolled in a treatment program and getting antiretroviral drugs automatically grew also. The Global Fund monies provided for the patients access to antiretroviral drugs.  However, over the years the numbers of persons enrolled onto antiretroviral therapy increased. Ghana was beginning to struggle with sustaining the current number of citizens requiring treatment along with the growing new population. This program shed a bit of hope on an otherwise lackluster situation for the nation.

WAAF has several branch offices in the Northern, Volta and Western region. The branch coordinators and peer educators at theses regional offices facilitated the programming in these regions within their respective districts where the Global Fund project was held.

The program was running very well until the Global Fund took a big hit from the global financial crisis. Last year (2011)  at their board meeting in Accra, they decided to discontinue the call for subsequent rounds of proposals as well as restructure the phase 2 of the ongoing project to allow for very high priority areas, like access to antiretroviral drugs be taken care of.  Meetings held at Country Coordinating Mechanism level ended with the decision to implement a transitional funding mechanism for the next year call for proposals whilst the second phase of the running project be restructured. . This led to serious consequences for the sub-recipients. All CSO’s among the PPAG-led group were dropped as sub-recipients. This not only caused a huge gap in the prevention of HIV work, it has also been a blow to many CSO’s.

The Global Fund project was full of potential especially given the fact that it was long term and would allow for better strategic planning. According to Dr. Naa, “WAAF will still remain committed to what we do , which is ensuring that everyone is well informed about HIV and can use the knowledge to make informed choices.” WAAF will continue to look for other funding opportunities and wishes to one day work with the support of Global Fund for HIV again.