Global Fund Meeting Ends Well

Participants at the just ended southern and eastern Africa regional meeting on the Global Fund’s new funding model have committed to ensure robust participation of women and adolescents in designing their plans as well as implementing gender-responsive programmes in the fight against HIVAIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The participants, who hailed from Angola, Botswana, the Commores, Eritrea, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, South Sudan and Swaziland met in Windhoek for four days last week to discuss the Global Fund’s new funding model.

The Global Fund has availed US$ 1.7 million (about N$18 million) for the twelve countries for a three-year period, Cynthia Mwase, the Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Manager for the Global Fund, informed the media last week, stressing the importance of the countries making a significant difference within the next three years in the fight against HIVAIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

“In the last decade we learnt what worked and we want to make sure we use what works in fighting these diseases,” Mwase added. But there are also lessons on what did not work, she pointed out swiftly.

“We want to focus on micro-epidemics. We didn’t adequately focus on girls and women, men having sex with men, migrant workers and prisoners. Those people need to be focused on and we need to make sure that in the next three years we make a dent and move the needle in the three diseases,” she said.

Meanwhile, countries applying for assistance from the Global Fund will henceforth be allocated funds based on the burden of diseases in their countries, explained Mark Edington, the Head of the Grant Management Division of the Global Fund Secretariat. Edington stressed the importance of countries focusing on understanding where disease burdens are, as without that there would not be effective interventions.

The participants committed to designing plans and programmes that target the participation of all key affected and vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by HIVAIDS, tuberculosis and malaria ensuring that human rights are addressed as a central tenet of programme development, implementation and evaluation.

Also, they committed to promote and ensure robust country dialogue, continuous consultation and inclusive discussion among all relevant stakeholders in implementing the Global Fund-supported projects in order to achieve the best possible impact in investments in the response to HIVAIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Further, the participants committed to use all resources available and all tools and epidemiological intelligence accessible to design plans and implement programmes that significantly reduce new infections in HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Additionally, they committed to aocate for an increase in the level of domestic finances invested by their governments in the fight against HIVAIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as well as for good governance of funds as a way to remove the three diseases as threats to public health.

Dr Naftali Hamata, the Special Aisor to the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, urged participants at the close of the four-day meeting to talk to their respective governments to increase the level of domestic finances invested in the fight against the three diseases.

“It is the best way to ensure sustainability of the gains we have made against these diseases in the last decade,” said Hamata, who read a statement on behalf of Kamwi.

Source : New Era