A review of HIV/AIDS prevention programs in Ivory Coast finds that millions of dollars in aid was blatantly misused by non-governmental organizations working with the USAID program. The inspector general concluded that USAID/West Africa did not achieve its goals of strengthening HIV/AIDS care and has only partially achieved its goals of facilitating treatment of HIV/AIDS patients.
One organization, Le Soutien, spent $992,620 but could not demonstrate any evidence of program activities to support orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS. Le Soutien employees failed to repay questioned costs, since the organization has no funds, or return motorbikes or office equipment purchased with USAID funds. Another organization, RIP Plus, received $1.5 million to provide HIV/AIDS testing and prevention but did not accomplish objectives and was unable to document any activities accomplished.
Supply Chain Management System received $119.2 million for support in providing antiretroviral drugs to medical facilities and managed to deliver 80 percent of the drugs. But medical personnel in all districts complained of running out of drug supplies, and SCMS failed to forecast drug demand accurately or stop distributing the drug Stavodine as suggested by the World Health Organization. The audit found drugs missing from storage facilities, expired drugs, and drugs exposed to high temperatures.
Despite abuse and fraud by partner organizations, the inspector general holds the USAID/West Africa staff accountable. “Many of the problems discussed in this report could have been avoided with adequate monitoring and oversight,” the inspector general said. Program managers at USAID were stretched too thin, working remotely from Washington, D.C., and lacked clearly defined responsibilities with the program.
FAST FACT: The initiative was part of emergency AIDS relief under President George W. Bush, which allocated $15 billion in 2003 to help combat HIV/AIDS in the developing world, and another $48 billion in 2008.
Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities.
- The Government Accountability Office is being sued by a for-profit college lobbying group due to a report issued last year criticizing the institutions. GAO cited problematic recruiting tactics at campuses owned by Education Management Corp., Apollo Group, Corinthian Colleges, and Kaplan Education. Shares of for-profit colleges plummeted after the release of the GAO report in August. (Fox Business)