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The holding up of the signing of the South African Global Fund grant agreements   points out to one crucial aspect: the lack of a properly functional CCM or Country

Co-ordinating Mechanism. The poor workings of the country’€™s CCM, chaired by Deputy President Jacob Zuma in the South African National AIDS Council, resulted in the delay of the signing off just over two months ago on millions of US dollars earmarked for crucial HIV/AIDS projects in South Africa, as it was not clear as to which arm of government the money should be released to.  

‘€œThere was a very simple, but complicated technical barrier that we had not overcome in terms of who was going to be the principal recipient of the South African funding. Was it going to be the Department of Finance, was it going to be the Department of Health, or was it going to be the Deputy President’€™s office as chairperson of SANAC? Those areas have been now overcome.’€

Dr Rose Mulumba, national Programmes Manager of HIV/AIDS and STI’€™s in the Department of Health, after announcing at a Global Fund Symposium held in Durban at the weekend on the sidelines of the South African AIDS Conference that the government will sign on the outstanding agreement. However, when I asked her who the principal recipient would now be Dr Mulumba refused to comment. It is this kind of secrecy and lack of communication around the SANAC that makes understanding the role of the CCM as well as society’€™s ability to gain access to the Global Fund difficult. That is how Dr Brian Brink, Health advisor to Anglo-American and a private sector representative on the Global Fund board, feels about South Africa’€™s CCM.

‘€œThe way the current CCM in this country works, I think we all see it as something that is owned by government, run by government, and that’€™s it. The rest of us may, or may not, be invited. That’€™s the thing that’€™s concerning a lot of us here and I think the time has come that we need to recognise those difficulties and try to get around them.’€

Dr Vinand Nantulya, Senior advisor to Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, believes that this approach is counter-productive to the fight against the three killer diseases facing the developing world, including South Africa.

‘€œGovernment alone cannot succeed unless it recognises the other players: the private sector, the NGO’€™s, the faith-based organisations, academia, the media and above all the people themselves, including those living with the conditions’€¦ It’€™s part of a democratic process’€¦ And in no country can I emphasise this other than South Africa where you have all these democratic processes in place through your brave people and a brave movement towards where you are today, politically. But in terms of fighting the diseases we are not there.’€                                        

This is a point that the national Department of Health’€™s Dr Rose Mulumba is well aware of.

‘€œSANAC is currently under restructuring and there is a process whereby we have invited much more sectors to sit on it for SANAC as a council to be a better reflection of the various role players that are engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS.’€

But, the Global Fund is concerned that the SANAC could have limitations in its capacity to carry the role of a CCM. Here’€™s Dr Vinand Nantulya.

‘€œThe mandate of a National AIDS Council is limited compared to the mandate of a CCM, which covers Malaria and Tuberculosis as well’€¦ One is a technical working group of the other, as it were.’€

So, what would the composition of the CCM be and what functions would it have?

‘€œACCM is not meant to be a formal structure recognised by a national Act of Parliament or anything like that. No. This is a forum that brings the stakeholders together. That’€™s why it is not the recipient of the money because it does not have to be. It is there to

co-ordinate. It’€™s there to engage the stakeholders. The recipient of the money is the implementer. Two different roles completely. Let’€™s not confuse that rule.’€

A the SANAC figures out how to restructure the Council’€™s component of the CCM, it is well advised to take this factor into consideration to avoid unnecessary bungling.

The holding up of the signing of the South African Global Fund grant agreements   points out to one crucial aspect: the lack of a properly functional CCM or Country

Co-ordinating Mechanism. The poor workings of the country’€™s CCM, chaired by Deputy President Jacob Zuma in the South African National AIDS Council, resulted in the delay of the signing off just over two months ago on millions of US dollars earmarked for crucial HIV/AIDS projects in South Africa, as it was not clear as to which arm of government the money should be released to.  

‘€œThere was a very simple, but complicated technical barrier that we had not overcome in terms of who was going to be the principal recipient of the South African funding. Was it going to be the Department of Finance, was it going to be the Department of Health, or was it going to be the Deputy President’€™s office as chairperson of SANAC? Those areas have been now overcome.’€

Dr Rose Mulumba, national Programmes Manager of HIV/AIDS and STI’€™s in the Department of Health, after announcing at a Global Fund Symposium held in Durban at the weekend on the sidelines of the South African AIDS Conference that the government will sign on the outstanding agreement. However, when I asked her who the principal recipient would now be Dr Mulumba refused to comment. It is this kind of secrecy and lack of communication around the SANAC that makes understanding the role of the CCM as well as society’€™s ability to gain access to the Global Fund difficult. That is how Dr Brian Brink, Health advisor to Anglo-American and a private sector representative on the Global Fund board, feels about South Africa’€™s CCM.

‘€œThe way the current CCM in this country works, I think we all see it as something that is owned by government, run by government, and that’€™s it. The rest of us may, or may not, be invited. That’€™s the thing that’€™s concerning a lot of us here and I think the time has come that we need to recognise those difficulties and try to get around them.’€

Dr Vinand Nantulya, Senior advisor to Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, believes that this approach is counter-productive to the fight against the three killer diseases facing the developing world, including South Africa.

‘€œGovernment alone cannot succeed unless it recognises the other players: the private sector, the NGO’€™s, the faith-based organisations, academia, the media and above all the people themselves, including those living with the conditions’€¦ It’€™s part of a democratic process’€¦ And in no country can I emphasise this other than South Africa where you have all these democratic processes in place through your brave people and a brave movement towards where you are today, politically. But in terms of fighting the diseases we are not there.’€                                        

This is a point that the national Department of Health’€™s Dr Rose Mulumba is well aware of.

‘€œSANAC is currently under restructuring and there is a process whereby we have invited much more sectors to sit on it for SANAC as a council to be a better reflection of the various role players that are engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS.’€

But, the Global Fund is concerned that the SANAC could have limitations in its capacity to carry the role of a CCM. Here’€™s Dr Vinand Nantulya.

‘€œThe mandate of a National AIDS Council is limited compared to the mandate of a CCM, which covers Malaria and Tuberculosis as well’€¦ One is a technical working group of the other, as it were.’€

So, what would the composition of the CCM be and what functions would it have?

‘€œA CCM is not meant to be a formal structure recognised by a national Act of Parliament or anything like that. No. This is a forum that brings the stakeholders together. That’€™s why it is not the recipient of the money because it does not have to be. It is there to

co-ordinate. It’€™s there to engage the stakeholders. The recipient of the money is the implementer. Two different roles completely. Let’€™s not confuse that rule.’€

As the SANAC figures out how to restructure the Council’€™s component of the CCM, it is well advised to take this factor into consideration to avoid unnecessary bungling.

E-mail Khopotso Bodibe

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