It’s explosive; it’s sexual abuse of one of the worst form; it’s all about HIV/AIDS patients being asked to give sex in exchange for medications and other benefits.
The allegation, coming from the Global Fund, an international organisation under the auspices of the WHO, has a caveat – “all but one of the accused executives denied the allegations and that it [Global Fund] believed that executives should have the right to cross-examine their accusers”.
But what are the details?
Persons living with HIV and AIDS are exploited sexually by executive members of the Ghana Network Association of People Living with HIV (NAP+), a Ghanaian NGO in exchange for access to benefits from the group, Reuters has published, citing a Global Fund report.
An investigation conducted by Global Fund detailed how the executive members of NAP+ Ghana “abused their positions of power and fostered a culture of sexual and financial exploitation”.
Neither the allegations nor the findings have previously been made public.
“Multiple NAP+ [Ghana] executives demanded that program members engage in sexual conduct or provide financial kickbacks in order to access events and benefits supported by grant funds, which constituted corrupt and coercive practices,” the 18-page report titled ‘Misconduct affecting Global Fund grants’ said.
The report which was issued on Friday, March 19, 2021, explained, “The Global Fund’s governance policy framework in relation to protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment (SEAH) is inadequate.”
Peter Sands, Global Fund Executive Director, in a letter told Reuters that he was “deeply disturbed” by the findings of the investigations and that the behaviour of the executives of NAP+ Ghana was “abhorrent”.
He noted the fund had “zero tolerance” for sexual exploitation and abuse, adding that further action to prevent, detect and respond to such incidents was planned.
Ghana Network Association of People Living with HIV (NAP+), which receives Global Fund grants indirectly from other partners, has refused to respond to the allegations.
The Global Fund is a group of governments, civil society and private sector partners which invests around $4 billion annually to fight infectious diseases.
The investigators noted that the abuse was first reported internally in July 2019 but it was something that had happened between 2010 and 2019 and its activities were linked to Global Fund grants.
Nine programme participants reported they had been sexually exploited and or abused by NAP+ executives, according to the Fund’s investigation conducted jointly with the Ghana Police Service. There are 43 witnesses, the report said.