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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Did the first Global Fund grant (2003–2006) contribute to malaria control and health system strengthening in Timor-Leste?

João Soares Martins12*, Anthony B Zwi2 and Paul M Kelly34

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa’e, Dili, Timor-Leste

2 Health, Rights and Development (HEARD@UNSW), School of Social Sciences and International Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and formerly GlobalHealth@UNSW and the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

3 Medical SchoolAustralian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia

4 Population Health Division, ACT Government Health Directorate, Canberra, ACT, Australia

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Malaria Journal 2012, 11:237  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-237

Published: 23 July 2012

Abstract

Background

In 2003, Timor-Leste successfully obtained its first Global Fund grant for a three-year programme for malaria control. The grant aimed to reduce malaria-related morbidity and mortality by 30 % by the end of the implementation.

Methods

A mixed-methods approach was used to assess the impact of the grant implementation. Fifty-eight in-depth interviews, eight group interviews, 16 focus group discussions, and on-site observations were used. Morbidity data reported to the Ministry of Health were also examined to assess trends.

Results

The National Malaria Programme with funding support from the Global Fund grant and other development partners contributed considerably to strengthening malaria control and the general health system. It also brought direct and indirect benefits to pregnant women and to the community at large. However, it failed to achieve the stated objective of reducing malaria morbidity and mortality by 30 %. The implementation was hampered by inadequate human resources, the rigidity of Global Fund rules, weak project management and coordination, and inadequate support from external stakeholders.

Conclusion

Despite limitations, the grant was implemented until the agreed closing date. Considerable contributions to malaria control, health system, and the community have been made and the malaria programme was sustained.

Keywords:
Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS; Tuberculosis and malaria; Malaria control; Capacity building; Health system; Additionality; Timor-Leste