GENEVA, 18 May 2015—On HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, UNAIDS is calling for a renewed global commitment to finding an effective HIV vaccine.
“A vaccine would be a major step towards ending the AIDS epidemic,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “There have been encouraging recent scientific advances that give us hope for the future development of an HIV vaccine.”
UNAIDS is committed to leaving nobody behind in the HIV response. A major advantage of vaccines is that they promote equity and can be used effectively in all communities and settings, including those where many other health services can be harder to deliver.
Studies show that an HIV vaccine is possible. The RV144 vaccine trial in 2009 lowered the rate of HIV infection by 31%. There is much hope that ongoing research will build on this trial and deliver results. Newer vaccine candidates, as well as neutralizing antibodies, are also being studied.
Vaccines have eradicated smallpox, and polio is close to eradication. Vaccines have also effectively controlled diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, mumps, measles and rubella, among other infectious diseases.
However, in 2013, HIV vaccine research and development saw the largest decline in investment since 2008. In order to transform promising concepts into an effective and accessible vaccine increased and sustained funding will be critical.
By Dr Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund
from the Post Courier pg 13, 15 May 2015
At the turn of the century, it became clear that the threat of infectious diseases like HIV, tuberculosis and malaria demanded a new approach: A partnership between people affected by the diseases, government, civil society and the private sector. With a focus on results, tremendous gains can be made.
Today, Papua New Guinea has become a living embodiment of this approach, and it is working.
We start with a tremendous global challenge. Malaria and tuberculosis have been with us for more than one thousand years.
HIV, the modern plague, has not only taken almost 40 million lives, it has flourished in the shadows of discrimination. The world has been forced to face confronting questions about stigma.
Yet no single institution or individual has the wisdom or capacity to end the three epidemics. Such deeply complex problems demand a multi-faceted response.
On my recent trip to Port Moresby, it was encouraging to see genuine progress, despite ongoing challenges.
The role of churches in delivering health care in PNG is widely acknowledged, yet insufficiently celebrated. Particularly in remote parts of PNG, the vast majority of services are delivered by faith-based organisations.
For this reason, the Global Fund is partnering with organisations like Anglicare and Catholic HIV & AIDS in areas such as Enga and the Western Highlands.
This partnership approach is able to provide care and support, while fighting stigma against those who live with HIV – as well as those at risk of it.
The Government’s recent decision to support an extra 375 church health positions and fund 162 church health facilities is a strong sign that they are also keenly aware of the power of this model.
Similarly, the distribution of mosquito nets across PNG by Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM) provides an excellent example of Global Fund principles in action.
An established and respected Global Fund partner, RAM distributes nets in remote and difficult environments. The organisation is committed to continual net distribution, rather than grand one-off campaigns.
As such, it is constantly learning and refining its approach. It helps that RAM is informed by real world private sector experience, an organisation well versed in getting things done.
Indeed, RAM has been pivotal in getting mosquito nets into PNG homes in practically every part of the country, helping to drive down malaria prevalence from 12.1 per cent to 1.8 per cent.
The Oil Search Health Foundation also shows how PNG is putting results ahead of process.
Oil Search understands that the health and wellbeing of Papua New Guineans is inextricably tied up with its own business goals. Since 2012, the Oil Search Health Foundation has partnered with the National Department of Health to manage and implement Global Fund resources to fight HIV and malaria.
It has delivered care and support to people living with HIB, raised community awareness to fight stigma and discrimination and supported health clinics to build functional HIV testing, counselling and treatment pathways.
No one would deny there are great challenges in delivering health care and disease prevention in PNG. Yet there is also cause for great hope.
The Government of PNG can increasingly act as a powerful connector, bringing the best out of the many and varied PNG institutions to improve health outcomes.
As these examples demonstrate, there is no single answer to ending HIV, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.
This is a problem that must be hit from every angle with sustained effort. I’m privileged to say that the Global Fund is committed to partnering with the vast array of people doing their bit to create a brighter, healthier future in PNG. We are here for the long haul.
Global Fund News Flash – 12 May 2015
More than 130 partners in global health gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 7-8 May to participate in consultations about developing the next strategy for the Global Fund partnership. The Partnership Forum was lively and energetic, with many concerns and suggestions brought forward, in English and French, reflecting a broad range of topics.
“The new strategy needs to keep human rights at the core,” said Nana Gleeson (pictured above), member of the Country Coordinating Mechanism in Botswana, who was one voice of many who spoke effectively. “We need to see how we can bring this to the ground, in countries and communities.”
There were working groups on strengthening health and community systems, on how to be effective in fragile states and challenging operating environments, on sustainability and transition, on gender, on human rights and on other topics. The goal of the Forum was to get input for the next five-year strategy for the Global Fund, and the quality and quantity of contributions was rich.
The Partnership Forum will continue with a gathering in Southeast Asia in late June, and another in Latin America in early September. At the same time, there is an e-Forum for ongoing online participation. Many additional consultation opportunities alongside meetings hosted by technical and other partners.
With One Voice
Just before the Partnership Forum in Addis Ababa last week, more than 100 people from 46 implementing countries in Africa met to discuss how to strengthen their engagement on the Global Fund Board and contribute to making grants more effective in efforts to end HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics. The meeting focused on contributing to the strategy of the Global Fund, and making sure that the priorities, needs, obligations and contributions of African nations toward solving health problems are fully involved.
Many participants at the meeting of the Africa Constituencies Bureau of the Global Fund shared perspectives and lessons learned over the past year in the process of application for funding and during implementation. They talked about finding ways to strengthen health systems and to boost domestic financing for health. They discussed the importance of placing women and girls at the center of health efforts, and the need for flexibility and for tailoring programs to specific circumstances including challenging operating environments.
“We worked together,” said Assetina Singo-Tokofai, the coordinator of National Aids and STIs Program in the Ministry of Health in Togo. “There was no Anglophone Africa or Francophone Africa, we were one Africa Group.” She said the goal of improving the effectiveness of the two African constituencies on the Global Fund Board – West & Central Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa – is to increase overall impact on people affected by the diseases in the region.
One step toward achieving better impact is the establishment of an Africa Constituencies Bureau – an entity to improve the effectiveness of Board members who represent the Africa constituency at the Global Fund Board. With a focus on better service for the people affected by the diseases in the region, the Africa Bureau will work as a technical advisory unit for members of Board representing the Africa constituencies.
Anita Asiimwe, the Board member for Eastern and Southern Africa, said the Africa Bureau is a culmination of years of hard work aimed at boosting the impact of investments made by the Global Fund partnership. Nele Djalo, the President of the Country Coordinating Mechanism in Niger, said the bureau will provide an opportunity for African countries to engage with the Global Fund more strategically. It will also allow countries to share valuable experience on implementation of health programs.
The global health landscape is constantly changing, and it is sometimes a challenge to keep up-to-date. The complexity of preparing and implementing grants also means proactively working to remove obstacles and bottlenecks. The meeting demonstrated the determination of participants to work together to get it done.
Article from Friends of the Global Fight
At its 33rd Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the Global Fund named Norbert Hauser, a highly respected lawyer and international auditor, as the next Chair of its Board and Aida Kurtovic, Executive Director of Partnerships in Health, as Vice Chair.
Incoming Board Chair Hauser brings extensive experience in government and financial supervision and an in-depth understanding of the Global Fund to his new position. He has been a member of the German Parliament; Vice President of Germany’s supreme auditing institution; and External Auditor of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
In 2011, Mr. Hauser served on a high-level independent panel commissioned to review the Global Fund’s financial controls and operations to identify and recommend institutional improvements. In December 2012, he was appointed as the Global Fund’s interim Inspector General. In this role, which he held until September 2013, Mr. Hauser transformed the Office of the Inspector General, increasing cost and workload efficiencies and reviewing and improving its investigative work.
“Mr. Hauser has a long history of high-level public service in a variety of capacities, including as a lawyer, a mayor, a Member of Germany’s Parliament and an auditor of key multilateral institutions,” said Deb Derrick, President of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “Having worked with and been impressed by him during his time as interim Inspector General at the Global Fund, Friends welcomes the opportunity to work with him again as Board Chair.”
Mrs. Kurtovic also brings a deep knowledge of the Global Fund and global health to her new role. Since 2005, she has served as Executive Director of Partnerships in Health, a nongovernmental organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina that builds health knowledge and skills by educating and training primary care providers. Mrs. Kurtovic has been an active member of the Global Fund’s Board since 2012 and for the past year has served on the Global Fund’s Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee, which oversees the organization’s strategic direction to ensure optimal impact and performance. She is also a member of the Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the organization that works on the ground to guide Global Fund-sponsored programs in that country.
“Both Mr. Hauser and Mrs. Kurtovic will be valuable additions to the Global Fund,” Derrick said. “Friends looks forward to working closely with them to accelerate the fight to save lives around the world from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.”
Global Health News
Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.