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Reuters New Media
Fund lifts suspension of Uganda AIDS cash

November 10, 2005
NAIROBI - A global agency that suspended millions of dollars in AIDS assistance to Uganda said on Thursday it would resume funding after agreeing with Kampala on ways to overhaul the management of the money.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria suspended five grants worth $367 million in August saying it had found evidence of mismanagement in the distribution of the money.

The fund is the biggest AIDS-related donor to Uganda, which has received some $45 million from the Geneva-based body over the past two years.

The suspension prompted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to order an investigation into the Project Management Unit (PMU), an agency set up by the Health Ministry to handle cash disbursed by the fund.

"Over the past two months, the Global Fund has been heartened by the intensive efforts of our partners in Uganda," said Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund.

"We are very pleased that the progress made enables us to lift the suspension of Uganda's grants," he said in a statement.

The statement came after an accord was signed between fund officials and the Ugandan Finance Ministry in Kampala on Thursday, listing a series of measures "to ensure effective, accountable, and transparent implementation of funded programs".

The measures included the continued involvement of international auditors Ernst & Young to oversee the management of the funds.

Uganda has often been praised for leading Africa's most effective campaign against the AIDS pandemic.

The east African country has succeeded in reducing HIV infection rates to about 6 percent today, from 30 percent in the early 1990s. However, its emphasis on abstinence-only programmes has raised concerns among health workers and AIDS activists.