January 2014 GlobalFundObserver; At Aidspan’s invitation, representatives of 30 organizations from East and Southern Africa met in Nairobi on 21-22 November 2013 to inaugurate the Africa Health Watch partnership to monitor the implementation of global health programs against AIDS, TB and malaria.
Aidspan has visited and organized workshops in 19 African countries since 2010 to identify and develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that monitor global health programs. The program was spawned by the realization that following and reporting on international aid flows, such as those of the Global Fund, is a challenge that no single organization has the capacity to efficiently undertake alone its own, one that can only truly gain from being tackled in a distributed and coordinated way.. The inauguration of the Africa Health Watch partnership coincides with the roll-out of the Fund’s new funding model, underscoring the need to track progress and bottlenecks in the grant application and implementation process.
Aidspan, with its specific focus on the Global Fund, has a well-established expertise in performing this kind of work at the global level but is too small to do the same in each of the 150 countries that receives Global Fund grants.
Equally, the monitoring of Fund-related activities by regional and national civil society organizations, health advocates, human rights activists, data experts and journalists varies widely, due to the level of understanding and exposure to Fund policies and processes. While some have strong expertise in certain areas, such as analyzing CCM performance, most lack the knowledge and skills to untangle the complexities of the Fund, to say nothing of an individual government’s own financial accounting in the health sector.
Africa Health Watch hopes to serve as a new community of practice responding to these limitations and concerns, emphasizing the best way to monitor and promote accountability in health financing and program achievement by the Global Fund and other global health activities in the region: the world’s worst affected by HIV/AIDS and one that faces some of the most severe TB and malaria epidemics.
Members agreed to share resources, lessons learned on accessing and using country-level data and information, and on developing efficient advocacy strategies to promote change.
Aidspan’s support will include online and face-to-face training in the basics of researching, fact-checking, analyzing and reporting on the progress and challenges of grantees and Global Fund policies in the region. It will also provide fundraising advice and support for coordinated efforts that lead to tangible, feasible, and sustainable activities to improve the effectiveness and results of national efforts against disease. By pooling resources and expertise, Africa Health Watch aims to contribute to improving service delivery and saving lives.