GENEVA - On International Anti-Corruption day, 9 December, the Global Fund's Office of the Inspector General is launching a campaign to raise awareness about fraud and abuse. Called 'I Speak Out Now!', the campaign is designed to encourage people to denounce any wrongdoing that prevents the medicines, health products and services from reaching those who need them.
By the end of 2015, the Office of the Inspector General, the Global Fund's independent assurance structure, estimates it will have received around 200 allegations of fraud and abuse. This represents an increase of 30 percent compared to last year, largely attributable to better visibility of its whistle-blowing channels. On average, over a third of allegations become investigations, which result in recommendations to recover misspent funds and actions to strengthen the Global Fund's impact in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The objective of the campaign is to improve the quality and timeliness of allegations that the Office of the Inspector General receives so that the Global Fund can intervene earlier to prevent small scale irregularities from becoming systemic cases of wrongdoing. Targeted audiences include Global Fund staff and grant implementers. Anti-fraud and corruption materials will also be piloted in three countries representative of the Global Fund portfolio: Ukraine, Côte d'Ivoire and Malawi. The Office of the Inspector General plans to extend the campaign to other countries in 2016.
"The Global Fund has zero tolerance to wrongdoing and is committed to ensuring that its investments are used in the most responsible and effective way," said Mouhamadou Diagne, Inspector General. "There is a human cost behind fraud and corruption. When people engage in wrongdoing, a child is potentially going to die of malaria, an HIV patient is not going to get his or her drugs and a pregnant mother is not going to get the prenatal care that she's entitled to."
The first phase of the campaign is the launch of an e-learning platform available at www.ispeakoutnow.org in English, French, Russian and Spanish. The platform aims to empower staff and grant implementers by giving them the tools to be able to recognize the early signs of fraud and corruption in the programs financed by the Global Fund. A number of Global Fund opinion leaders have also testified their support to the campaign through video, including members of the Board.
The second phase of the campaign involves reaching out to targeted communities in country. In Ukraine, the focus will be on disrupting bribes that people who inject drugs have to pay to get into harm reduction programs; in Côte d'Ivoire, on interrupting supply chain leakages that lead to free tuberculosis drugs being sold in street markets; in Malawi, on preventing free malaria drugs from being diverted and sold for a profit. Where possible, the Office of the Inspector General is working with local partners, civil society or members of the donor community including Transparency International and the Fondation Chirac in France.
"Reporting wrongdoing to the Office of the Inspector General is simple, safe and completely confidential," said Katie Hodson, Head of Investigations. "If you suspect wrongdoing in the programs we fund, you can contact us by email, telephone, online or even face to face. Every report is assessed carefully and we will keep you regularly informed of progress."
Visit the I Speak Out Now! e-learning platform at www.ispeakoutnow.org
Thomas Fitzsimons, Communications Specialist, Office of the Inspector General
Mobile: +41 79 412 14 61