The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan received a grant from the Global Fund for the HIV prevention and treatment worth 4.5 million dollars for the years 2018-2020. It is reported that this money will be used to strengthen the legal framework for financing and implementation mechanisms for implementing HIV activities among vulnerable groups, including
- people who inject drugs
- sex workers
- men who have sex with men (MSM).
These actions will include schemes for the implementation of social orders for NGOs.
What is hidden behind this complex formulation? Well, let's try to figure it out. Everything seems to be clear, the Ministry of Health wins 4.5 million dollars from the Global Fund but what for? Well, according to the description it is for the improvement of the lives of people living with HIV, and also decrease the rates of transmission. How is that supposed to be done? And here the interesting part starts.
Part of the money is supposed to be spent on "strengthening the legal and regulatory framework" - it turns out the ministry has received grant money for the work that it is obliged to perform in the course of its normal daily practice. Is it not the ministry's duty to develop and improve normative legal acts? It seems to be, and it already receives money from our pockets as taxpayers. But then the question rises, will the millions of dollars be spent on ordinary bureaucratic work? I do not really get it. Ok, let’s move on.
It is also said that another part of the money will be spent "for carrying out activities among vulnerable groups". From what I know this is not the first cash tranche that is allocated for such purposes. But here I am, a gay man, that is, in the terminology of the Ministry of Health is to be called MSM. In my whole life I have not actually met with the activities of such NGOs. Where are the results? Openly published studies, trainings for a wide range of MSM, information on HIV and STD prevention? In the end, where is the social advertisement of safe sex for gay people on the national TV and on billboards along the busy streets of cities? Before the Kok.team site was launched, I did not even know that there are so many "friendly medical service room" where I, as it turns out, could have taken STD tests free of charge.
Why is that? Is the reason that the money from Ministry of Health does not reach the NGOs, but settles in the pockets of dishonest officials? Or does the money go to fake NGOs that do not really do anything but nice reporting, and the money settles in the pockets of their leaders?
There are no other options why gays and other MSM do not see results from using millions from the Global Fund.
All of the above means that the huge funds that are allocated to help us, dissolve in the air, without affecting the life of MSM in Kazakhstan. I am sure that the only way to somehow influence the situation is absolute publicity and transparency at all stages of the distribution of funds.
Therefore, I would like to address the staff of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It's time to conduct a study or an investigation that would show whether at least one percent of MSM, PWID, or sex workers know that were supposed to be the end-users of services paid for from your means for many years have actually received them. I am confident that they have not. Your money settles in someone else’s pockets. Even if you are presented with beautiful reports, ask us, the final recipients of the services, we will tell you that no work is being done for us.
I would be happy to be wrong, and yes, maybe I do not understand a big deal. But this misunderstanding is due only to the fact that there is no public information - neither from the Ministry of Health, nor from NGOs that keep receiving the money.
I want to ask the Global Fund to make public all the information related to the implementation of your grant. I think that the editorial board of Kok.team will agree to act as a platform for highlighting successes in prevention among MSM.
From the Editor: The opinion of the editorial board may not coincide with the opinion of the author. The editors call for considering this material as a call for discussion.