Browsing articles in "HIV & AIDS"
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.”

7 April 2014
Shawn Clackett

Partners in Eastern and Southern Africa Look at Investment Framework

Global Fund News Flash: 07 April 2014

Photo from Unicef.org

Prof. Sheila Tlou, Director of UNAIDS Regional Support Team in East and Southern Africa

WINDHOEK, Namibia Partners from countries in Eastern and Southern Africa opened a four-day meeting in the Namibian capital this week to examine how to make investments achieve the greatest possible impact in partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

More than 150 people – from governments, civil society, technical partners in 12 countries – came together to discuss the Global Fund’s new funding model and to look at how to optimize use of all available funding. Encouraging each country to prioritize investments and coordinate them with national plans and strategies for health is a central theme of the new funding model.

Dr. Richard Kamwi, Namibia’s Minister of Health and Social Services, opened the meeting by asking participants to champion an increase in domestic investments in health, which he said would strengthen partnerships and safeguard the gains of the past 10 years.

“Speak to your governments,” said Dr. Kamwi. “Unless we sustain these gains, the progress we have made will have been futile.”

In the spirit of partnership, Dr. Kamwi announced that his country’s cabinet had authorized a donation of US$1 million to the Global Fund.

The new funding model was designed to more fully deliver on the promise of partnership that created the Global Fund in 2002. That includes strong country ownership, increased domestic spending on health and a focus on human rights.

Prof. Sheila Tlou, Director of  UNAIDS  Regional Support Team in East and Southern Africa, told the meeting that the region should use the new funding model to ensure that marginalized people not only get prevention and treatment but are also involved in decision-making.

“We need to ensure that key populations are involved in the formulation and implementation of programs under the new funding model,” she said. “We need to ensure that no one is left behind.”

Cynthia Mwase, the Regional Manager of Southern and Eastern Africa at the Global Fund, said that the new funding model integrates human rights and partnership into new grants, and also provides a strategic roadmap on how the region can remove the three diseases as threats to public health. She said the meeting was organized to help Global Fund partners in the region to prepare to attain impact through the US$1.7 billion now available for the funding period.

For more information, please contact:
Ernest Waititu

26 March 2014
Shawn Clackett

What’s Behind this Photo?

Global Fund News Flash: Issue 40

Photographer John Rae
John Rae is a documentary and commercial photographer who has worked with the Global Fund since 2002 and delivered some of our most memorable images. Over the years, John has visited over 45 countries to document efforts to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria. This is the second in a series of memorable photos that John is telling us about:

In November 2007, I went to “the hills” of western Nepal – 4,500 meter rock walls that anywhere else in the world would be called mountains. A dangerous road got me to a small town called Silgadhi, where I saw a support group called People Living with AIDS. Its leader is Tara BK. She is my hero.

Tara is a short woman with bright eyes and a quick smile that belies the trials she has been through. She belongs to a low caste called the Bisokarma. That means if Tara goes to a restaurant she has to wash her own dishes when she has finished eating. It means she is not allowed to sell milk, and people in higher castes fear that buying milk from her will make the cow will climb up a tree. The caste system must still be going strong in rural Nepal. I have never seen any cows in trees.

Tara told me that she got married six years ago. Shortly afterward, her husband left in search of work in India and did not return for five years. She was tired of waiting and decided to join her husband in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. That was unusual for a woman in Nepal, but Tara was determined to be with her husband. Nine months later Tara gave birth to a healthy son. That same week, her husband began shivering and was running a high fever. He was diagnosed with AIDS. The local hospital was ill-equipped to treat him, and recommended he go to the “big hospital” in Hyderabad. But her husband’s health quickly deteriorated and he died just a week after the test.

Two days later, Tara began the long journey back to Silgadhi with her newborn son. Not long after her return, Tara began to feel weak. She was breathless and broke into a fever and began to shiver. Salibaan, a man from her village who worked at the local health clinic approached her and she confided in him that she feared she may have “desi rog.” Salibaan, who had received HIV/AIDS training told her that the clinic had a program for testing, counselling and medication.

Fearing for her baby, Tara took the test for HIV. It came back positive. She was devastated. She was warned not to breastfeed her baby. But without an income and unable to work, and with a hungry baby to feed, she saw no choice and reluctantly began to breastfeed her child. Within months her son died.

Soon after, Tara revisited the health clinic and received free antiretroviral medication and counselling. Staff asked if she would be willing to “come out” about the results. After losing her husband and her son to the disease, she did not care what others thought about her status. If “coming out” would help others, she thought, there was no reason to hesitate. She was the first in her area to acknowledge her status publically and realized she could use her sorrow and experience to help others. She joined the local People Living with HIV/AIDS support group and was elected president. She began receiving a monthly salary of 3,000 Rupees (about US$30.) It enabled her to slowly repay the loan for her marriage, and the medical and cremation expenses for her son. Her mission now is simple: to prevent new infections and support people suffering from HIV and AIDS.

Tara’s life is not easy. She lives with her mother-in-law in a small mud hut. She is HIV-positive. She faces discrimination, as a lower caste, and is also stigmatized for her HIV status. Despite it all, Tara still walks 15-25 kilometers a day through the “hills” to help patients living with HIV and AIDS. Tara is my hero.

10 March 2014
Shawn Clackett

HIV: Treatment can cut transmission of virus to near zero, says study

“It’s thought that about 50 per cent of new infections come from people who don’t know they are infected”
- Professor Sharon Lewin. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

From the Sydney Morning Harold. Health editor Julia Medew. March 7, 2014

Most HIV-positive people who are on antiretroviral treatment have a near zero chance of transmitting the virus to others during unprotected sex, a European study has found.

In a finding that could dramatically change the lives of HIV-positive people and public health policies in Australia, a study of 282 gay men on treatment with undetectable levels of the virus in their blood, found that none of them transmitted it to their partners through unprotected sex over one year.

While a previous 2010 study of mainly heterosexual couples showed that having an undetectable viral load reduced the risk of transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner by 96 per cent, this is the first study to look at the risk in gay men, who make up about 80 per cent of the HIV-positive population in Australia.

HIV experts said that although the latest data presented from the PARTNER study at a US conference this week suggested an ”extremely low and possibly zero risk” of transmission among people with undetectable levels of the virus, it was too early to tell people that they could abandon condoms.

However, they said the study boosted hopes that a strategy of ”treatment as prevention” could play a major role in stemming the spread of HIV in Australia in coming decades and should prompt the federal government to explore more home-based testing so people know their status and can be treated earlier.

Professor Andrew Grulich, of the Kirby Institute, said that while some Australian states including NSW and Victoria had already introduced more rapid HIV testing to encourage people to know their HIV status, Australia should follow the US and allow tests to be sold over the counter in pharmacies for home-based use.

”I think home-based testing absolutely has a place in the testing response in Australia because treatment as prevention critically depends on people with HIV being diagnosed as early as possible, so they know they are infected and can take action to reduce their infectivity before they have any unsafe sex with anybody they could pass it on to,” he said.

Head of infectious diseases at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Professor Sharon Lewin, said a ”treatment as prevention” strategy was promising because about 90 per cent of people on antiretroviral treatment have undetectable levels of the virus in their blood when they have tests, usually at six monthly intervals.

But she said limiting the spread of the virus was complex because about 8000 of the 33,000 people living with HIV in Australia do not know they are infected.

”It’s thought that about 50 per cent of new infections come from people who don’t know they are infected,” Professor Lewin said.

Furthermore, she said only about half of the 25,000 people who know they are HIV positive are receiving antiretroviral treatment for a range of reasons, including a historical requirement for people to show a certain amount of immune system damage to receive subsidised treatment.President of the National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS Robert Mitchell welcomed the results of the PARTNER study which will continue to examine the risk of transmission among heterosexual and homosexual couples until 2017.

”These results provide further evidence of the powerful impact that HIV treatment has on preventing HIV transmission. It is important that every effort is made to alert people with HIV and their doctors to these latest findings, particularly as this study is the first of its kind to include a significant number of gay couples,” he said.

7 March 2014
Shawn Clackett

Global Fund Board Moves Forward on New Funding Model

7 March 2014 News Release

Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, Chair of the Board of the Global Fund

“We are moving forward with a model that will enable our partners to reach more people with the information and services they need,” said Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, Chair of the Board of the Global Fund.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Board of the Global Fund approved strategic, financial and operational components of a new approach to funding that offers more predictability, more flexibility, more inclusive country dialogue and a greater impact to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria.

At a meeting that concluded today, the Board approved final elements of the new funding model, opening the way for its full implementation to begin this month. Following a decision in November 2011 to “evolve the funding model,” the Board, its Committees and Global Fund staff have spent more than two years devising, refining and preparing a transition to the new funding model, coordinating closely with partners on each step.

“We are moving forward with a model that will enable our partners to reach more people with the information and services they need,” said Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, Chair of the Board of the Global Fund. “Working with partners, we are supporting the most effective methods to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria.”

The Board approved an updated comprehensive funding policy and an initial allocation of $10.2 billion for grants during 2014-2016. Ten percent, or close to US$1 billion, will go to “incentive” funding, to encourage ambitious plans.

With a more strategic approach based on national plans, the new funding model will support countries in planning how to control these epidemics and to provide care and treatment to people affected by them, including strengthening of health systems. The new funding model relies on strong country dialogue to bring partners together to best decide how to maximize impact, and to look at how all available resources can serve a country’s objectives.

Available funding for health interventions does not meet the full demand in many countries. The Global Fund encourages ambitious national strategic plans to defeat HIV, TB and malaria, and is aware that focusing on maximum impact can in the future achieve more than seems possible today. To enable long-term sustainability, the Global Fund is encouraging greater investment and long-term financing in countries all over the world.

The Board also approved a revised disclosure policy for the Office of the Inspector General, building further upon a policy of a high degree of transparency. The revised policy calls for publicly releasing all reports the Office of the Inspector General, including those on internal operations at the Global Fund.

 

For more information please contact:

The Global Fund
Seth Faison
Head of Communications

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