April 11, 2011 / 2:36 PM / in 7 years

Aid suspension threatens disease fight-Global Fund

BRUSSELS, April 11 (Reuters) - Donors’ decision to suspend $180 million of aid to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria could hit efforts to combat the diseases, the fund’s chief said on Monday.

Germany, Spain and Denmark temporarily stopped payments to the Geneva-based fund earlier this year after hearing reports donations had been misused.

The Global Fund said health authorities in recipient countries might fear donations were running out and rein in disease-fighting programmes.

“I think the money will be paid, but there will be a psychological effect,” the fund’s executive director Michel Kazatchkine told reporters in Brussels.

“If you are a health minister in a developing country, it will make you hesitate,” he added before meeting European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs at the European Parliament.

The Global Fund has said $34 million is unaccounted for in four countries -- Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania and Zambia.

It has suspended further payments to those countries and set up an independent panel to review its financial controls.

The fund accounts for about a quarter of international financing to fight HIV and AIDS and the majority of global money to fight tuberculosis and malaria. (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Andrew Heavens)

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