Battle of perception between Global Fund and AP continues

I can’t quite tell what’s going on here, so I will merely report the two polar opposite viewpoints.

The Associated Press is reporting in an “exclusive” (which so far has seemed to indicate a perspective on this story shared by few others) that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is considering not telling us anymore when it discovers bad things happening.

As you can read here and here, the Global Fund has repeatedly been accused of incompetence or malfeasance by the AP, based on anonymous sources, on a number of occasions — apparently, after the Global Fund itself identified the fraud or theft and began investigating these problems.

Now, according to the AP:

A global health fund championed by celebrities and world leaders is considering scaling back its groundbreaking philosophy of full transparency about how it spends billions of dollars in health care in poor countries.

But according to the Global Fund, it has no such intentions and remains committed to making public all of its problems based on its a policy of “full transparency and zero tolerance of corruption.” From a recent press release:

“By nature of its mandate, and in order to reach some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, the Global Fund works in countries with weak institutional and control environments. In tackling mismanagement and corruption, it is driven by two core principles – full transparency and zero tolerance of fraud,” said the Board’s outgoing chairman, Tedros Ghebreyesus on the eve of the meeting.

This is all very odd, since usually the difference between a media report of wrongdoing and the organization’s response differ just by matter of degree and nuance.

These two are just saying completely different things.

What’s different in this latest AP report is they are attributing the allegations to a person this time, the fund’s Inspector General John Parsons. This is at least more credible than simply attributing the accusations to unknown persons and documents.

We’ll just have to wait and see as the investigation proceeds. The Global Fund board did decide, by the way, to continue their policy to report publicly its losses due to theft or fraud.


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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.