Senator Dick Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released a report entitled, “Fraud and Abuse of Global Fund Investments at Risk Without Greater Transparency,” and called for U.S. action to protect against fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars invested in global health programs.
“As we continue to grapple with a $1.4 trillion budget deficit and a $14 trillion national debt, we must be diligent in reviewing all U.S. spending and questioning its necessity and effectiveness. Every program must be reviewed, including the program through which the United States is providing both bilateral and multilateral assistance to disadvantaged populations to prevent cases of and treat people with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria,” Lugar stated.
More than forty current Senators were not members of the Senate when the “United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003” was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The report is a primer to answer a number of questions that newly-elected Senators have posed. It examines the history and operation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the problems and initial improvements made to them, and the most recent challenges the Fund faces.
The report also includes a series of hard-hitting recommendations to be implemented by both the U.S. Government and the Global Fund. These recommendations call for strengthening existing systems to prevent further mismanagement and to ensure that the maximum number of people may benefit from the health prevention and treatment efforts of the Global Fund. Additional recommendations include the withholding of U.S. funds to the United Nations Development Program until the organization’s internal procedures are modified to provide for greater transparency.
“I am hopeful that with the release of this report, my colleagues in the Senate will work with me to protect U.S. investments, prevent mismanagement of these funds, and maximize the best possible outcomes,” Lugar said.