ISLAMABAD-Two provinces have urged Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) to ask the Global Fund to revoke the Additional Safeguard Policy (ASP) as both federating units have implemented all the conditions in disbursement of funds including showing political commitment, The Nation learnt on Saturday.

The Global Fund had provoked ASP alleging dissatisfaction over utilisation of vertical health programmes in provinces including AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

Officials at the Ministry of NHS said that Punjab and Sindh have urged the ministry to ask Global Fund to revoke the ASP as it has been provoked unfairly when provinces were working to control the diseases.

Officials also informed that the Global Fund had itself allocated the amount for all provinces last time instead of sending it to the federal and giving it authority of distribution. Officials further said that one internal and three external audits of the funds were being conducted annually, but still provoking ASP was astonishing for the country. A senior official remarked “administrative negligence and leisure attitude at top level of ministry led to provoking ASP by Global Fund.”

The Global Fund has disbursed over 600million USD in the country and 300 million USD will be allocated to fight against three diseases.

The health secretary Punjab in a letter written to federal secretary NHS on Global Fund Grant 2022-2023 said that it has been decided by Global Fund to impose Additional Safeguard Policy (AS) for next Global Fund Grant.

It said that as per para 2, ASP is imposed when PR/SR have demonstrated lack in capacity or failure to effectively deploy, implement or safeguard GF grant in conditions of civil unrest, an influx of displaced persons, the government instability, identified fraud and inadequate national programme capacity.

The letter said that as per para 6, none of the ASP triggers exit in Punjab. Rather than, Punjab province’s political commitment and ownership by Chief Minister Punjab, Health Minister Punjab and Secretary P&SD and PACP has been appreciated in “Punjab Aids Strategy 2021-2025” developed by UNAIDS consultants.

It said that as per para 8, ASP selection of private PRs has been done without CCM, partners and stakeholders involvement and defined eligibility criteria of GF was also not observed. The same has also not been discussed in any TWG meeting.

It said in previous GFMAT that there was no coordination between PRs and PACPs and your kind self is requested to ask Global Fund authorities to revoke Additional Safeguard Policy for Punjab. The Global Fund wrote to the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) that it will revoke the ASP after checking the eight conditions. It will check the evidence to the satisfaction of the Global Fund of full, timely and consistent disbursement against Provincial PC-1 on HIV & AIDS and Tuberculosis.

Provincial programmes are performing adequately and that the programmatic and fiduciary risks are controlled.

It further put the conditions that assurance of sufficiently resourced and capacitated CCM, able to perform its independent oversight role (such as through an eligibility and performance assessment) and assurance that the risks identified by the Global Fund have been adequately mitigated to the Global Fund Secretariat’s assessment and satisfaction.

Parliamentary Secretary for NHS Nausheen Hamid talking to The Nation said that the ministry has asked the Global Fund to review its decision as the current government has assumed the power just before two years. She said that funding was continued for years by the Global Fund but no improvement was observed in reducing the number of cases or controlling the spread of the disease.

She alleged that the in-efficiency and lack of transparency in the previous government led to this situation where the Global Fund had to provoke ASP.

“We have asked the Global Fund to reverse its decision,” she said.