Mozambique estimates that it would donors “to consider measures that in 2002, Round 3 in 2003 and so forth.
need eight health workers per 1,000 might otherwise be dismissed as Round 7 was launched in March 2007.)
patients receiving ART . This unsustainable” because of the scale of These proposals are reviewed by
is in line with the estimations of the crisis . It is not clear how serious the Technical Review Panel (TRP),
Hirschhorn et al.: the numbers of a health workforce crisis needs to be a panel of independent experts. The
health workers required to provide for donors to consider “unsustainable” TRP recommends certain proposals for
ART to 1,000 patients include one to measures. funding to the Board.
two physicians, two to seven nurses, Second, Malawi was able to come The Global Fund’s Board includes
one to three pharmacy staff, and to a special agreement with the representatives of donor and recipient
a wide range of counsellors and International Monetary Fund (IMF). governments, non-governmental
treatment supporters . These Malawi agreed to a ceiling on the organisations, the private sector, and
ﬁndings apply to ART programmes “government wage bill” with the IMF affected communities. It approves
in their start-up phase, which require in September 2003. In July 2005, the proposals upon recommendation from
an intensive follow-up, but even if a IMF accepted that the ceiling “will the TRP. It also approves the guidelines
mature ART programme could be be adjusted upward (downward) by and the proposal forms for each of the
effective with only four health workers the full amount of donor-funded Rounds of the Global Fund.
per 1,000 patients, the number of supplementary wages and salaries The Secretariat is the executive
additional health workers required for the health sector that is greater branch of the Global Fund. In
remains a huge challenge, knowing (less) than the program baseline” . principle, it does not interfere with
that 199,000 people in Mozambique All countries listed in Table 1 have the approval process. In practice, it
needed ART by the end of 2005 . agreed with the IMF to control their does elaborate the guidelines and the
Is Mozambique’s health workforce wage bill—either as a performance proposal forms, and thus it has an
gap exceptional? There are 12 criterion or benchmark, or as a inﬂuence on the eligibility of proposals.
countries in Africa with an HIV promise in a “Letter of Intent”—except For an intervention to be eligible,
prevalence of more than 5% and less for Zimbabwe and Côte d’Ivoire, it needs to be proposed by a CCM,
than two nurses per 1,000 people (see which do not have ongoing IMF- recommended by the TRP, approved
Table 1). If we rank these countries supported programmes. Malawi is by the Board, and it must ﬁt within
according to density of nurses, the only country beneﬁting from an the guidelines and proposal forms
Mozambique comes last. In terms of automatic adjustment of this ceiling. proposed by the Secretariat.
expanding access to ART, no country The IMF justiﬁes these ceilings As an illustration of the complexity
faces a bigger health workforce crisis because of “concerns about potential of this governance structure, we could
than Mozambique. macroeconomic problems that could mention the initial uncertainty about
result from entering into long-term the eligibility of AIDS treatment
The Health Workforce Gap expenditure commitments without interventions. During the ﬁrst Board
in Malawi long-term donor commitments to meeting, the Health Minister of
ﬁnance them” . France said that “there should be
In Malawi, there are 266 doctors and
In addition, Malawi obtained no false dilemma over treatment or
7,264 nurses (no ﬁgures on midwives
funding from the Global Fund under prevention”, but did not receive a
are available): per 1,000 people there
its Fifth Call for Proposals. The clear answer from the Board . Then
are 0.61 full-time equivalents of health
Board of the Global Fund decided to CCMs proposed ART interventions, the
workers (2004 ﬁgures) . The health
consider health systems strengthening TRP recommended some of them, and
workforce would need to be multiplied
(HSS) interventions for funding as the Board approved them.
by four to achieve the MDGs.
a speciﬁc category under its Fifth By doing so, the Global Fund has
In 2004, Peter Piot, head of
Call for Proposals, and it was as an developed—perhaps implicitly—a
UNAIDS, and Suma Chakrabarti,
HSS intervention that the Malawi novel approach to sustainability.
permanent secretary of the United
response was approved. But under the Sustainability in the conventional
Kingdom Department for International
Sixth Call for Proposals, speciﬁc HSS sense implies that beneﬁciary
Development, during a joint visit to
interventions were no longer eligible. countries gradually replace foreign
Malawi concluded that it would be
assistance with domestic resources.
impossible to roll out ART without
Global Fund Support to the Health This is not realistic for low-income
undermining the health system, unless
Workforce countries providing ART. Nonetheless,
the level of health workers could be
the Global Fund does support
increased dramatically. They instructed The Global Fund has a unique
ART interventions in low-income
their agencies to support an initiative governance structure. At the core
countries: thus it shifted concerns
to address the health workforce crisis. of this structure are the Country
about sustainability from national to
The result was “a shift from piecemeal Coordination Mechanisms (CCMs):
international level (if the Global Fund
donor support for a number of national platforms of stakeholders,
can sustain these interventions, they
uncoordinated initiatives to a more formulating proposals in answer to
are sustainable, albeit in a different
comprehensive approach” . the calls for proposals launched by the
The response in Malawi might Board of the Global Fund. (The Board
The international community
remain unique for several reasons. of the Global Fund regularly launches
endorsed this novel approach. In
First, the Malawi response was possible calls for proposals, known as Rounds:
June 2006, the United Nations
because of an explicit decision by Round 1 and Round 2 were launched
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Table 1. Health Workforce Gaps and Wage Bill Agreements in 13 African Countries
Countries with Adult HIV Nurses (Density per Physicians Adult HIV Wage Bill Conditionality in IMF-Supported
Prevalence >5% and <2 Nurses 1,000 Population), (Density per 1,000 Prevalence Programmes
per 1,000 Population 2004 Population), 2004 (%), 2005
Zambia 1.74 0.12 17.0 Yes
Cameroon 1.60 0.19 5.4 No, but government promised to keep wage bill
below 5.9% of GDP (December 2, 2003)
Kenya 1.14 0.14 6.1 Yes
Congo, Republic of 0.96 0.20 5.3 Yes
Zimbabwe 0.72 0.16 20.1 No ongoing IMF-supported programmes
Lesotho 0.62 0.05 23.2 No, but government promised to reduce wage bill
(February 12, 2001)
Uganda 0.61 0.08 6.7 Yes
Côte d’Ivoire 0.60 0.12 7.1 No ongoing IMF-supported programmes
Malawi 0.59 0.02 14.1 Yes, but with automatic adjustment
Tanzania 0.37 0.02 6.5 No, but government promised to keep wage bill
below 4.7% of GDP (July 14, 2005)
Central African Republic 0.30 0.08 10.7 Yes
Mozambique 0.21 0.03 16.1 No longer applicable since 2006, but replaced by
promise to keep wage bill below 7.5% (April 3, 2006)
GDP, gross domestic product.
programmes for the Global Fund
General Assembly committed itself “to Dräger et al. note that this concern
and long-term development of health
supporting and strengthening existing about sustainability “cannot be found
infrastructure for the World Bank
ﬁnancial mechanisms, including for any other activities ﬁnanced by
. In November 2006, the TRP and
the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, the Global Fund” and suspect that it is
the Secretariat, in their report to the
Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as closely linked to IMF and World Bank
Board, recommended that “the Board
relevant United Nations organizations, macroeconomic policies .
through the provision of funds in a The advocates of supporting salaries convene a suitable forum, which can
sustained manner” (emphasis added) of health workers from the Global discuss and attempt to resolve the
question of the appropriate scope
. It might sound like a nuance, but Fund obtained a short-lived victory
and deﬁnition of acceptable HSS
the difference between “sustainability in 2005, when Round 5 of the Global
activities prior to Round 7. Ideally, this
relying on domestic resources in the Fund included a speciﬁc category for
discussion will lead to a clariﬁcation
long run” and “sustainability relying HSS interventions.
and narrowing of the scope of HSS
on the provision of external funds in a But Round 5 also caused some actors
activities which the Global Fund sees as
sustained manner” is fundamental. to evaluate their role in the global
its mandate to fund” .
This novel approach is what health landscape. The World Bank
This evolution is problematic
countries like Mozambique need to insisted on a “Comparative Advantage
because the World Bank does not share
strengthen their workforce. They Study” of Global Fund and World
the Global Fund’s novel approach to
need to hire more health workers, but Bank AIDS programmes. Alexander
sustainability, certainly not for health
they are unable to sustain the costs of Shakow, who conducted the study,
hiring additional health workers with recommended that the Global Fund workers’ salaries. The World Bank
domestic resources. focus on disease-speciﬁc interventions, believes that “it is not prudent for
If the controversy about ART was leaving HSS interventions to the countries to commit to permanent
easy to solve, the controversy about World Bank . In January 2006, expenditures for such items as salaries
strengthening health workforces was the Global AIDS Alliance and Health for nurses and doctors on the basis
tougher. Some Global Fund supporters GAP—supported by more than 30 of uncertain ﬁnancing ﬂows from
understood from the beginning that experts and 300 non-governmental development assistance funds” .
its success in expanding coverage organisations—urged the Global Some bilateral donors might be
of ART depended on its willingness Fund to keep HSS interventions as willing to consider “unsustainable”
to pay for the salaries of additional a speciﬁc category [13,14]. In April interventions to address health
health workers. However, the Global 2006, the Board decided to narrow workforce crises, as they did in Malawi.
But Malawi remains the exception that
Fund has never been keen to expand the scope of eligible interventions,
conﬁrms the general rule. Bilateral
its novel approach to sustainability to adopting a proposal form that no
donors will ﬁnd it difﬁcult to make
the funding of the health workforce. longer included HSS interventions as
their commitments reliable enough
Since Round 2, the Global Fund has a speciﬁc category. In August 2006,
for the IMF to adjust the ceiling on the
applied strict criteria for the funding of Richard Feachem, the executive
government wage bill. Most bilateral
salaries of health workers. With regards director of the Global Fund, endorsed
donors can only commit for as long as
to salaries, applicants must explain a new “division of labour” between
their government remains in place—
“how these salaries will be sustained the World Bank and the Global Fund:
only a few years.
after the proposal period is over” . rapid scale-up of disease-speciﬁc
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in accordance with their needs . memorandum of understanding. Available:
It would allow individual donors to
Both the cases of Mozambique mwi/012006.pdf. Accessed 13 March 2007.
overcome their inability to make 8. Fedelino A, Schwartz G, Verhoeven M (2006)
and Malawi illustrate the crucial
Aid scaling up: Do wage bill ceilings stand in
commitments beyond the term of
importance of addressing the health the way? International Monetary Fund Working
their governments, because their
workforce crisis. It is easier to remedy Paper WP/06/106. Available: http:⁄⁄www.imf.
contributions would be compulsory. org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2006/wp06106.pdf.
the shortage of medicines with Accessed 13 March 2007.
(This is not a heresy. Many bilateral
external funding than it is to remedy 9. The Global Fund (2002) Minutes of
donors consider their contributions to the ﬁrst meeting of the Board. Geneva,
the shortage of health workers with
28–29 January 2002. Available: http:⁄⁄www.
the World Bank as compulsory .
external funding. Medicines can be theglobalfund.org/en/ﬁles/publicdoc/
This can be achieved for contributions
bought; health workers need to be First%20Board%20Meeting.pdf. Accessed 13
to the Global Fund.) Furthermore, the March 2007.
trained ﬁrst. This underlines the 10. United Nations General Assembly (2006)
pooling of resources by many donors
importance of starting emergency Political declaration on HIV/AIDS. Available:
would increase continuity: if one donor http:⁄⁄data.unaids.org/pub/Report/2006/
human resources programmes now,
reduces its contribution, another donor 20060615_HLM_PoliticalDeclaration_
before the growing case load— ARES60262_en.pdf. Accessed 13 March 2007.
resulting from the fact that most 11. Dräger S, Gedik G, Dal Poz M. (2006) Health
And that is exactly what countries workforce issues and the Global Fund to ﬁght
people on ART will stay alive longer,
AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: An analytical
like Mozambique need to increase their
while the number of people in need review. Hum Resourc Health 4: 23. Available:
health workforce: sustained assistance.
of ART will grow—undermines either http:⁄⁄www.human-resources-health.com/
content/pdf/1478-4491-4-23.pdf. Accessed 13
the quality of ART programmes, or the
Acknowledgments March 2007.
performance of health systems . 12. Shakow A (2006) Global Fund–World Bank
The authors would like to acknowledge HIV/AIDS programs: Comparative advantage
Without support from the
the valuable contributions of Sarah Venis study. Available: http:⁄⁄siteresources.
Global Fund, it will be difﬁcult worldbank.org/INTHIVAIDS/
(Médecins Sans Frontières, London, United
for Mozambique to develop its Resources/375798-1103037153392/
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