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November 16, 2012

Global Disease Fund Hires New Director and Fires Watchdog

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria hired the former U.S. point man for global AIDS prevention as its new executive director Thursday in a shakeup that also saw the international nonprofit group fire its inspector general and announce a new approach to grants, writes The New York Times.

Dr. Mark Dybul, who served as AIDS czar under President George W. Bush, fills a position that has been vacant since Dr. Michael Kazatchkine left the Global Fund in January amid a restructuring and cost-cutting push. The appointment was backed by the U.S. government, which provides about a third of the fund's budget, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, its major private donor.

Since its founding in 2002, the Geneva-based fund has spent more than $20-billion on treatment and prevention programs in 150 countries but has been wracked in recent years by leadership turmoil and corruption probes. On Thursday it dismissed its inspector general, John Parsons, whom critics within the organization contend exaggerated corruption problems and scared off donors.

The fund also announced a new grant application process that will focus on the hardest-hit countries rather than spreading resources across all the nations that have received its help in the past.