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Steps being taken by the Coordinating Board to reduce conflict of interest and improve transparency in the Stop TB Partnership

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5 May 2011

Professor Rifat Atun
Chair, Coordinating Board
Stop TB Partnership
c/o World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva, Switzerland

Re: Steps being taken by the Coordinating Board to reduce conflict of interest and
improve transparency in the Stop TB Partnership

Dear Professor Atun,

We want to congratulate you, the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, on the recent appointment of Dr. Lucica Ditiu as the Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership (the Partnership).

Dr. Ditiu is a bright and dynamic individual, and we have high hopes for what the Partnership will achieve with her leadership. We also want to congratulate the Coordinating Board on a number of important steps initiated at its March meeting in Washington, DC.

Firstly, we applaud the formation of a task force to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Stop TB Partnership and the WHO that will clarify lines of authority, delineate organizational boundaries and define operational processes. As you can imagine, many in the civil society community were surprised to discover that the WHO TB Department was the recipient of more than 70 percent of all Partnership funds (excluding Global Drug Facility and TB Reach funds). Serious misgivings were raised by the current administrative situation—the WHO’s TB Department not only approves all Partnership work plans, but also makes final decisions on the allocation of all Partnership funds. We are therefore pleased that the Coordinating Board has decided to address this conflict of interest. Continuation of the status quo would raise concerns that the Partnership manages its affairs more as a means of supporting the WHO TB Department, rather than to meet donor purposes of building synergistic partnerships to eliminate TB.

Secondly, we want to commend the Coordinating Board on the formation of a sub-committee to define key performance indicators for the activities of the Partnership. The conflict of interest in the current administrative arrangement between the WHO and the Partnership has been exacerbated by the absence of any tendering process for non-administrative activities, formal contracts for work performed (including terms of reference), or performance indicators—best practices recognized by most governments and businesses. This new sub-committee will be able to address this important issue and create standards to which all organizations receiving funds from the Partnership (via the WHO as its fiscal and fiduciary agent) will be held accountable. This is an extremely significant step towards good governance, as well as an important part of UN reform.

We wholeheartedly support the important steps that you and the Coordinating Board are taking and hope that the WHO Director-General will both encourage and back these important measures. A transparent and accountable Partnership will foster the engagement of the myriad partners required to achieve our shared goal of TB elimination.

Lastly, we would like to formally request that you and the Executive Secretary please provide the Stop TB Partnership member organizations with regular and transparent feedback on the progress made in the two areas we have discussed in this letter.


Sincerely,

Mr. Jonathan Berger
Senior Researcher and Director of Policy and Research
SECTION27, South Africa

Mr. Patrick Bertrand
Director
Global Health Advocates France

Ms. Michaela Clayton
Director
AIDS & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), Namibia

Ms. Vuyiseka Dubula
General Secretary
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), South Africa

Mr. Gregg Gonsalves
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition

Mr. Loon Gangte
President
Delhi Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, India

Mr. Mark Harrington
Executive Director
Treatment Action Group

Ms. Yetunde Ipinmoye
Policy and Advocacy Officer
Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), Nigeria

Dr. Salmaan Keshavjee
Director, Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change
Department of Global Health and Social Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Ms. Alessandra Nilo
Director
Gestos – HIV+, Comunicação e Gênero, Brazil

Ms. Morolake Odetoyinbo
Chair, Board of Directors
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition

Mr. Shiba Phurailatpam
Regional Coordinator and Director
Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS

Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer
Executive Director
Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines
Médecins Sans Frontières

Mr. Gregory Vergus
Director
ITPCru, Russian Federation

Dr. Sarah Zaidi
Executive Director
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition

Mr. Paul Zintl
Chief Operating Officer
Partners In Health


Cc: Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization, Switzerland
Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary, Stop TB Partnership, Switzerland
Mr. Sandeep Ahuja, Operation ASHA, India
Dr. Nils Billo, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, France
Dr. William Bishai, Working Group on New TB Drugs, USA
Dr. Nichola Cadge, UK Department for International Development, United Kingdom
Dr. Ken Castro, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA
Dr. Jeremiah Muhwa Chakaya, DOTS Expansion Working Group, Kenya
Dr. Paul De Lay, UNAIDS, Switzerland
Dr. Marja Esveld , Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
Ms. Christina Foley, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canada
Dr. Peter Gondrie, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Netherlands
Mr. Michel Greco, Working Group on New TB Vaccines, France
Dr. Christy Hanson, United States Agency for International Development, USA
Dr. Diane Havlir, TB/HIV Working Group, USA
Dr. Nobukatsu Ishikawa, Research Institute of TB, Japan
Dr. Aamir Khan, Working Group on MDR-TB, Pakistan
Dr. Michael Kimerling, Gates Foundation, USA
Mrs. Blessina Amulya Kumar, Vice Chair Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board, India
Honorable S.E. Mr. Abdallah Abdillahi Miguil, Ministry of Health, Djibouti
Professor David H. Mwakyusa, Ministry for Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania
Professor Kyaw Myint
Ministry of Health, Myanmar
Ms. Carol Nawina Nyirenda, CITAM+, Zambia
Dr. Rick O'Brien, Global Laboratory Initiative Working Group, Switzerland
Dr, Madhukar Pai, Working Group on New TB Diagnostics, Canada
Honorable Dr. Mphu Keneiloe Ramatlapeng, Ministry of Health, Lesotho
Ms. Montserrat Meiro-Lorenzo, World Bank, USA
Honorable Dr. Meliton Arce Rodriguez, Ministry of Health, Peru
Honorable Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi
Ministry of Health, South Africa
Dr. Masato Mugitani, Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare, Japan
Dr. Mario Raviglione, World Health Organization, Switzerland
Dr. Giorgio Roscigno, Working Group on New TB Diagnostics, Switzerland
Dr. Herbert Schilthuis, Heineken International, The Netherlands
Dr. Mel Spigelman, Working Group on New TB Drugs, USA
Dr. Tonka Varleva, Ministry of Health, Bulgaria
Dr. Hao Yang, Department of Disease Control and Prevention, China
Ms. Paula Akugizibwe, ARASA, Namibia
Dr. Amy Bloom, United States Agency for International Development, USA
Ms. Joanne Carter, RESULTS, USA
Ms. Lucy Cheshire, ACTION Project Kenya
Dr. Paul Farmer, Harvard Medical School, USA
Dr. Françoise Girard, Open Society Institute, USA
Dr. Myriam Henkens, Médecins Sans Frontières, Belgium
Dr. Hirohito Nakatani, World Health Organization, Switzerland