KATHMANDU, Aug 26: The Health Ministry has suspected Save the Children, Nepal of cheating The Global Fund for years over the data of the HIV infected Nepalis. According to the Ministry, the organization has faked the data to secure big funds. The organization received 230 million rupees with the help of fake data.
A senior government official at the Ministry stated that 1,888 cases of fake HIV infected were ‘manufactured’ by Save the Children. "The number of HIV infected is 1,888 fewer than the one we have in the integrated national health information system," he said.
According to the National AIDS and Sexual Disease Control Center, Save the Children reported to the Global Fund that a total of 17,987 HIV infected were provided service in the last fiscal year. However, the number of the total HIV infected as per the government record is just 16,099. This discrepancy in the number of the infected is now under question.
Officials at the Health Ministry informed that health care expenses for an HIV infected person is more than 1,25,000 rupees per year. Save the Children has been grabbing extra millions in the name of fake patients, the officials claim.
The Global Fund has been supporting the HIV infected since a few years and it provides funds based on the number of the infected people. According to the officials, Save the Children received over Rs. 230.8 million from Global Fund in the last fiscal year for its 'real and fake HIV infected persons’.
Around two billion rupees is spent annually to provide medical and other support to the HIV infected people. Save the Children is a leading organization working to combat HIV AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, among other health issues.
Dr Sudha Devkota, Director of HIV Aids and Sexual Disease Control Center, stated that the disparity between the government data and Save the Children is unnatural. "It is wrong that the data is different. We will look into the case, and they will be interrogated," she said.
Similarly, Badri Gyawali, Director at Integrated National Health Information System, said that the data of the infected used to be collected in coordination with Save the Children in the past. The Health Ministry has been working on its own for the past two years, and that is how the fake number was revealed.
"We used to collect data in coordination with Save the Children, but it's been two years since the Ministry has taken this responsibility," he said. "And then the fake number was traced," he added.
The government collects data from the hospitals across the country, and it is updated every 15 days.
Rajyashree Kunwar of Save the Children expressed ignorance over the issue. She admitted that the data of the HIV infected is regularly reported to the Global Fund. "Save the children works in coordination with the government's Center for HIV AIDS, and our duty is to help the government defeat HIV/AIDS. I do not know how the data came out differently," she said.