Browsing articles in "HIV & AIDS"
16 February 2015
Guest Contributor

Global Fund signs Grants with Papua New Guinea for Malaria, TB and Health System Strengthening

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Lady Roslyn Morauta, Chairperson of the PNG Country Coordinating Mechanism and Dr Mark Dybul, the Executive Director of the Global Fund sign Grants to help end HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby – Lady Roslyn Morauta, Chairperson of the Papua New Guinea Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) for the Global Fund, said today that she was delighted that the Global Fund had continued its support to health programs in Papua New Guinea by signing three new grant agreements worth US$50 million to the end of 2017 for Malaria, Tuberculosis and Health System Strengthening.

Since 2004, the Global Fund has approved grants for Papua New Guinea worth US$187 million. In addition to this, a total of US$83 million has been approved by the Global Fund for Papua New Guinea for 2014-2017.

At the grant signing ceremony held at the National Department of Health, Lady Morauta thanked Dr Mark Dybul, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, and representatives of donors to the Global Fund.  The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many donors, represented in Port Moresby today by the Australian High Commissioner, and the Ambassadors of the United States and the European Union.

She also thanked the Minister for Health, Hon Michael Malabag and Health Secretary Pascoe Kase for working closely with the CCM to meet grant conditions and to finalise the grant proposals to the Global Fund.

The CCM is a multi-stakeholder body, including representatives from the Government, the private sector, churches, NGOs, academic institutions, multilateral and bilateral agencies, and people living with the diseases targeted by the Global Fund (HIV, TB and Malaria).  The CCM develops and submits grant proposals to the Global Fund based on the priority needs of the disease strategies of the National Department of Health.  After grant approval, the CCM oversees progress during the implementation, so it plays a key role in oversight of the grants.  Drawdown of funds is based on performance.

The Implementers/Principal Recipients for the new grants are Rotarians Against Malaria and Population Services International for Malaria, and World Vision for TB.  The TB grant also has an over-arching Health System Strengthening component.

“The key to success of these grants is not just the commitment and hard work of the Principal Recipients, but a close working relationship with the National and Provincial Health Departments and District Authorities, who in fact carry out a large bulk of the activities funded by the grants,” Lady Morauta said.

The CCM Chair noted that the Government’s investment in Global Fund supported programs was significant.  For the period 2012-2014 the government contribution to the programs totaled US$62 million.  This is expected to increase by 78% during 2015-2017, with an indicative budgeted amount of US$110 million.

“The CCM is proud that the PNG Government’s commitment to these programs is strong.  This is an important achievement.  The initial Global Fund programs in PNG were almost entirely funded by the Global Fund, which caused problems when the grants ended.  The close of the first HIV grant, for example, left many gaps in government and church HIV services, and also for patients.  The sustainability of these programs is critical.  The Government now recognises the importance of continuity, and is making a substantial co-financing contribution.”

Lady Roslyn also paid tribute to the Australian Government, the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS for the on-going technical and financial support they provided to the CCM.

The grant agreements were signed by Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, Gabriele Ganci, Country Director of Population Services International, Ron Seddon, Chairman of Rotarians Against Malaria, Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia, Curt Von Boguslawski, Country Director for World Vision, Roslyn Morauta as Chair of the PNG CCM and Heni Meke, representing civil society organisations on the CCM.

The two malaria grants, worth a combined total of US$32 million, will be used to fund purchase and distribution of 2.8 million mosquito nets and training of community health workers.  The grants will also support prompt diagnosis of malaria, strengthen monitoring and improve access to care for the country’s most disadvantaged communities.

The other US$18 million grant, to be administered by the international and Australian divisions of World Vision, aims to reduce the incidence and prevalence of tuberculosis in PNG. The grant will be used to improve the recruitment and retention of clinical staff. It will also strengthen the systems needed to enable access to quality drugs and laboratory diagnostics for HIV, TB and Malaria, helping to build a stronger health system as a whole.

Lady Morauta said that, thanks to previous funding from the Global Fund and the strategy followed by the National Government, Papua New Guinea had made tremendous progress in its campaign against malaria. According to the World Health Organisation, malaria prevalence has decreased from 12.1 per cent to 1.8 per cent. Key to this success has been an aggressive mosquito net distribution program. Approximately 82 per cent of households now own at least one net.

More cases of tuberculosis are being treated than before and case detection of the disease has risen to 89 per cent in 2013 from 61 per cent in 2010.

“The new grants build on the success of the previous Global Fund grant programs.  We look forward to further reduction in the incidence of malaria, and to an acceleration of the campaign against TB, which is now a very serious public health issue in Papua New Guinea,” Lady Morauta said.

27 October 2014
Shawn Clackett

Transmission: The journey from AIDS to HIV

 

Sydney film premiere:
A compelling story of sexuality, activism and hope by renowned Swedish filmmaker.

On the eve of World AIDS Day (1 December 2014) the Pacific Friends of The Global Fund are proud to present the Sydney premiere of the compelling documentary film Transmission: The journey from AIDS to HIV.

Thirty years in the making, Transmission: The journey from AIDS to HIV tells the powerful and very human stories of those living with HIV and the activism behind society’s changing attitudes about the disease.

Blending archival footage with interviews from the present, world renowned Swedish documentary filmmaker Staffan Hildebrand lays bare the taboo issues of sex and sexuality against the backdrop of fear and misunderstanding in the 80s and 90s. He expertly contrasts this with the messages of hope and positivity delivered by the young, tech-savvy, AIDS activists of today.

Hildebrand first visited Australia in 1988 as part of a global effort to document the struggles and activism of those suffering HIV/AIDS. His unique record, known as the Face of AIDS archive, is held at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and spans over 900 hours of archival footage.

In Transmission: The journey from AIDS to HIV Hildebrand revisits the Australian doctors and health workers who were on the frontline of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and featured in his archive. As a counterpoint he also retraces his steps through AIDS ravaged Cambodia, providing a fascinating insight into the inequities in treatment between our two countries.

In the end though, Hildebrand leaves us with a message of hope. He captures the unshakable spirit of the activists who have driven social change and the pride with which HIV positive people live with their diagnosis.

Transmission: The journey from AIDS to HIV was funded through the generous support of The Myer Foundation, The Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation (Melbourne), The Finkel Foundation, ACON, The Victorian AIDS Council and The Burnet Institute.

Staffan Hildebrand
Staffan Hildebrand was awarded a prestigious Fullbright Scholarship in 1968. Inspired by changing media he bought his first video camera and by 1971 he was covering the Vietnam war for Swedish National Television News from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

In 1983 he came to international prominence directing his first full length feature G, a box-office hit about youth culture, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Hildebrand also directed Nights of Stockholm (1987) and Someone to love (1990), both of which achieved box office success.

In 1988 Hildebrand’s first documentary on HIV/AIDS was selected as the opening film for the IV International AIDS Conference in Stockholm.

Interviews
Director Staffan Hildebrand is available for interview from Sweden. Participants in the documentary including Sebastian Robinson, Nic Dorward and Abby Landy are available for interview locally.

Tickets
Available online at www.queerscreen.org.au

Public relations
Jason Kerr
Kerr Communications
Mobile: 0434 850 782
Email:

11 July 2014
Guest Contributor

UNAIDS welcomes Australia’s commitment to equal treatment of people living with HIV in its immigration policies

Press Statement by UNAIDS

Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé

GENEVA, 10 July 2014—UNAIDS welcomes confirmation from the Government of Australia that people living with HIV do not face an automatic exclusion, or unequal treatment when applying for entry, stay or residence visas. People living with HIV are treated similarly to other people with chronic health conditions and disabilities during the country’s immigration health assessment process. Applications for visas from people living with HIV will be assessed against criteria applying to anyone with a chronic health condition.

The announcement came ahead of the 20th International AIDS Conference, which will take place in Melbourne, Australia, from 20 to 25 July 2014.

“People living with HIV need equal opportunity to contribute to and benefit from today’s globalized world, where migration is increasingly important. Eliminating travel restrictions is not only a human right for individuals, it improves business prospects for communities,” said the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé.

UNAIDS advocates for the right to equal freedom of movement, regardless of HIV status. There is no evidence that restrictions on the entry, stay or residence of people living with HIV protect the public’s health. In 2012, more than 40 chief executives from some of the world’s largest companies signed a pledge opposing HIV restrictions, calling them discriminatory and bad for business.

As part of its ongoing dialogue with countries on this issue, UNAIDS has sent communications to all countries, territories and areas that appear to have HIV-related entry, stay and residence restrictions, and has raised the issue during official high-level visits. Australia has made important reforms to its migration health assessment requirements and procedures since the conclusion of a parliamentary inquiry on migration and disability in 2010, including an annual increase to the “significant cost threshold”, the elimination of the cost assessment related to health services for humanitarian visa applicants and improvements to increase the transparency of the health assessment process. These reforms were assessed against the criteria outlined by the International Task Team on HIV-related Travel Restrictions, co-chaired by the Government of Norway and UNAIDS,  and it was concluded that Australia had met the task team’s standard.

4 June 2014
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Oil Search Announces Platinum Sponsorship of 20th International AIDS Conference

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Professor Sharon Lewin, Local Co-Chair of AIDS 2014, Peter Botten, Managing Director of Oil Search Limited, and Jan Beagle, United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS in Papua New Guinea, on a two-day tour hosted by the Oil Search Health Foundation

Port Moresby – Oil Search Limited’s Managing Director, Peter Botten, has announced the Company’s platinum sponsorship of the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) that will take place from 20 – 25 July in Melbourne, Australia. Mr. Botten made the announcement at a dinner in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), after hosting a two-day tour of HIV treatment facilities for some of the world’s most pre-eminent leaders in the global HIV response.

Jan Beagle, United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Professor Sharon Lewin, Local Co-Chair of AIDS 2014, were among the delegates who participated in the tour of Hela Province in the country’s north, experiencing first-hand how the private sector is making significant inroads in addressing the HIV epidemic in PNG.

As guest of honour, Ms. Beagle addressed the high-level audience at the Grand Papua Hotel in Port Moresby, emphasising the importance of a multi-sectoral response and commended Oil Search for its public health interventions in PNG.

“The Oil Search Health Foundation, in partnership with the Government and civil society organisations, is providing impressive HIV-related services and using HIV as an entry point for broader health and development outcomes,” said Ms Beagle.

Local Co-chair of AIDS 2014, Professor Lewin, praised Oil Search for its generous support for the AIDS Conference as well as the Company’s innovative approach to delivering HIV prevention, treatment and care in PNG.

“I truly believe that companies like Oil Search are showing the leadership we need from the private sector and they should be applauded for the role they are playing in all our work to see the end of AIDS,” said Professor Lewin.

At the dinner, Mr. Botten highlighted the importance of bringing a slice of PNG to AIDS 2014, noting that the country’s geography, HIV prevalence level and Oil Search’s innovative public-private partnership with the PNG Government made a compelling case for the Company to sponsor the AIDS conference in Australia.

“I believe it is pertinent for Oil Search and our Health Foundation to demonstrate the impact the private sector can have on the response to HIV in PNG,” said Mr Botten. “Over the last two days, our guests have visited Tari Hospital and two health clinics to see for themselves how the public-private partnership we have established with the PNG National Department of Health is helping to overcome the challenges HIV patients and service providers face in treating and preventing HIV in remote locations.

“Using funds from the Global Fund Round 10 HIV grant, the Oil Search Health Foundation is working with the PNG Government and development partners to deliver better HIV programs, better counselling and treatment services and better outcomes in PNG than any of us could have achieved on our own,” said Mr. Botten.

Mr. Botten concluded by issuing a challenge to others in the private sector to follow Oil Search’s lead:

“Where national health systems are overburdened, the proactive participation of the private sector is not only needed, but an obligation. I encourage other industry leaders to rise to the challenge both in PNG and elsewhere around the world.”

22 April 2014
Shawn Clackett

UNICEF and Global Fund Coordinate Efforts to Reach Mothers, Newborns and Children

Sayon Keita with her 8 month old son, Samba. A few days before this photo was taken, Samba was receiving treatment for severe malnutrition at Kangaba Hospital in Mali

Photo from UNICEF

GENEVA/NEW YORK – UNICEF and the Global Fund today reinforced their long-standing partnership through a new agreement to better coordinate efforts aimed at reducing the burden of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria and improving the health of mothers, newborns, and children.

Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake signed a new Memorandum of Understanding that emphasizes the importance of coordinating investments in commodities to prevent and treat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria with those designed to improve overall maternal, newborn, and child health.

“The Global Fund has helped expand access for millions of mothers and children to lifesaving commodities that prevent and treat HIV, TB, and malaria,” said Lake.  “This new agreement will help governments integrate these critical investments with health services that support basic maternal, newborn, and child health.  This integration will increase the effectiveness of both efforts and potentially save millions of lives.”

Specifically, the Global Fund and UNICEF agreed to jointly identify countries where HIV and malaria investments for mothers and children could be better aligned with investments in basic maternal, newborn and child health.  As a first step, these commodities could include iron and folic acid, tetanus vaccinations, syphilis screening and treatment for pregnant women, and antibiotics to treat pneumonia and oral rehydration salts and zinc to treat diarrheal disease in children.

Under the new agreement, the Global Fund and UNICEF will encourage governments and Country Coordinating Mechanisms to integrate packages of care and support for mothers and children, and to apply for Global Fund grants that align HIV, TB and malaria programming with broader maternal, newborn and child health efforts.  UNICEF will support governments that wish to review and revise national strategies to strengthen this alignment and will help mobilize additional funding where necessary to purchase supplies and equipment for the care of mothers, newborns and children.

“This partnership between UNICEF and the Global Fund strengthens what is already operating on the ground in many countries,” said Dr. Dybul. “We have much further to go, and by working together we can achieve tremendous progress for women and children around the world.”

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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.

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