Browsing articles in "Malaria"
24 July 2013
Shawn Clackett

Global Fund : ‘Spectacular’ success combatting AIDS, TB, Malaria

2013-07-18 Vatican Radio

Christoph Benn

The Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria is seeking pledges from states to finance prevention and treatment programs which combat the three deadly diseases. France just committed 1.4 billion U.S. dollars to the Fund, which will hold its triennial “replenishment” conference at the end of the year. Officials of the Global Fund are meeting with Italian government leaders today in Rome to encourage Italy to renew its pledges.

The Global Fund celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012. Dr. Christoph Benn, Director of External Relations for the Global Fund, says over the past eleven years, the organization has helped to significantly lower the number of people worldwide who are infected by these three lethal illnesses.

“The fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is showing amazing results,” he says. “If we go back a couple of years ago when AIDS was overwhelming many countries in Africa and in other continents when people who had no access to treatment and millions of people were dying, it was a very desperate situation. And with the support of the international community and through the Global Fund, it has been possible to turn that around in a way that many experts would not have expected just a couple of years ago. Now we have in Africa more than fifty percent of people suffering from AIDS now have access to the highly effective AIDS treatment and mortality rates have gone down in virtually all African countries.”

“We have spectacular declines in mortality from Malaria because we have been able to provide families with bed nets to protect them from mosquito bites; we have provided them with effective treatment and diagnostics and the same with Tuberculosis: the detection rates have gone up and success rates in treatment have gone up. So this is quite a spectacular success in international development. And the Global Fund, as the major international funder for the fight against these three diseases, has played a big part in that.”

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has launched a new framework to accelerate action to reach 15 million people with antiretroviral treatment by 2015.

The framework, entitled Treatment 2015, outlines practical and innovative ways to increase the number of people who have access to antiretroviral medicines. The Global Fund is “very much cooperating” with the UNAIDS effort says Dr. Benn.

“We are collaborating very closely with UNAIDS, also with colleagues from WHO (World Health Organization).”

“They are the technical experts on these diseases and they are advising the countries, you know, how to design the programs that we then finance. So that’s the division of labor if you like: they provide the technical support and we provide the financing and together we can make sure that millions of people have access to care, prevention and treatment.”

Dr. Benn says though the Fund has helped bring preventative care and treatment to people in many countries, “we need to see greater progress in countries with the weakest infrastructures.” The Fund also collaborates with and supports Catholic health care facilities and Caritas.

 

11 July 2013
Shawn Clackett

Namibia and the Global Fund Sign US$100 Million Grant Agreement

Children in Namibia

WINDHOEK, Namibia – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today signed agreements with Namibia for US$91.6 million to further support the national HIV response and US$8.5 million for malaria programs.

“We are very pleased to be signing these grants, which will allow us to continue to improve the quality of health of our people in Namibia,” said Dr. Richard Kamwi, Minister of Health. “The Global Fund continues to be an important partner in our country, and we are committed to continue investing in this fight. Our government is currently funding 75 percent of ARV treatment and we thank the Global Fund for funding the remaining 25 percent. Thanks to this support we were able to reach 85 percent coverage in March last year.”

The HIV grant signed today amounts to US$91.6 million. Another grant for US$19 million will be signed next week. Programs supported by these grants will be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Health of Namibia and NANASO, a Network of AIDS Service Organizations whose main focus is prevention and care.

“This is an important milestone for Civil Society in Namibia,” said Mr. Sandie Tjaronda, Executive Director of NANASO. “It symbolizes not only global solidarity but the need for strengthened collaborations to record more success stories in the national response. HIV and AIDS can be concurred and there is no appropriate time than now.”

The program will focus on high impact interventions including treatment, care and support, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, scaling-up voluntary male medical circumcision, basic prevention for men who have sex with men and sex workers; and cross-cutting activities such as strategic and targeted behavioral change communication, HIV counseling and testing and condom promotion and distribution.

“Namibia is a great example of a Global Fund partnership at work,” said Lelio Marmora, Head of Africa and the Middle East for the Global Fund. “Government, technical partners, civil society, and bilateral agencies all came together to ensure that high impact interventions were included and that funding and programmatic gaps were addressed. We want to thank everyone for their commitment to the process.”

Whereas the 13.4 percent HIV prevalence in the general population in the country is one of the highest in the continent, Namibia has made important progress showing a declining trend in new infections: from an estimated 10,000 in 2008 to 8,000 in 2011. Namibia has also succeeded in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, with 5 percent of infants born with HIV in 2012.

Regarding malaria, Namibia has shown remarkable progress with mortality declining from 1,700 deaths in 2001 to 36 deaths in 2011. Malaria out-patient cases have fallen from 521,067 cases in 2001 to 14,406 cases in 2011.

The country is progressing from malaria control to malaria pre-elimination,  faster than anticipated. Namibia is already ahead of targets established in a National Strategic Framework 2010 – 2016.

The main interventions  include strengthening the surveillance system, combining prevention strategies of Indoor Residual Spraying in high-transmission areas and mass distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide-treated nets, active case surveillance and expansion of community-based interventions and cross-border control.

Since its inception, the Global Fund has approved US$325.5 million for grants in Namibia for the three diseases and over US$190 million has been disbursed for program implementation.

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6 July 2013
Guest Contributor

Australian malaria vaccine ‘promising’

Article by John Ross
From: The Australian
July 02, 2013

Griffith University's Professor Michael Good: "We have taken a different approach by working with an immune response to the whole malaria parasite."

Griffith University’s Professor Michael Good:
“We have taken a different approach by working with an immune response to the whole malaria parasite.”

The 30-year quest for a malaria vaccine could be near an end, after an Australian-led trial proved successful on mice.

The study, published July 2 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, is the first to trigger an immune response to the whole malaria parasite. Most attempts have targeted individual proteins in the parasite.

Lead author Michael Good, of Queensland’s Griffith University, said the team had used a drug to “bind the DNA” in the parasite before introducing it to lab mice. The drug left the parasite structurally intact but prevented it from multiplying.

“From the body’s point of view, it thinks it’s seeing a real living malaria parasite and produces an immune response to kill it,” Professor Good said. “When you then give it a living parasite, the immune system clobbers it.”

Malaria kills a million people a year, mostly young children. Many vaccines have been trialled but none has proven successful.

The most promising to date, the “RTS,S” vaccine funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is being trialled in several African countries. But Professor Good said the immunity it provided was incomplete and short-lived.

He said researchers had focused on developing “sub-unit vaccines” targeting individual proteins in the hope of inducing a broader immune response. “The problem with that approach, shown time and time again, is that the proteins mutate.

“Slight differences in any one protein are often enough to mean the immune response which recognises one strain won’t recognise another. Because we’re using the entire parasite, our approach eliminates that problem.”

Griffith is seeking volunteers for a small human trial over the next few months. While it involves giving volunteers malaria, Professor Good said it was safe because the infection could be “stopped” before the subjects became sick.

If the trial proves successful, wider Australian testing will be followed by a field trial in an affected country in Africa or the Pacific. If all goes well, a vaccine could be widely available within five years, Professor Good said.

21 June 2013
Shawn Clackett

Myanmar Funding gets Early Approval

Myanmar

On 15 June, 2013, the Global Fund announced approval for the first concept notes submitted by three early applicants: Myanmar, El Salvador and Zimbabwe. A concept note is the Global Fund’s mechanism for countries to request financing. The three countries have been approved for funding up to $449.8 million. Because the approved amounts are ceilings, the final level of funding determined during grant negotiations could be less.

“Countries have been able to act quickly to get this new funding model started, and that’s great news,” said Simon Bland, Chair of the Global Fund Board. “These first grants show how, by working with partners, we can reach more people facing these diseases and really move forward progress toward defeating them and removing them as threats to public health.”

In contrast to El Salvador and Zimbabwe, Myanmar will receive $111.8 million to fight all three diseases; HIV ($39.5 million), tuberculosis ($26.3 million), and malaria ($26.0 million).  HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria afflict Myanmar. There are an estimated 220,000 people living with HIV; ie. 0.6% of the country’s population. There are believed to be some 125,000 people in need of HIV anti-retroviral treatment. HIV-prevention program in Myanmar will support a strong push in that country to meet an urgent need for anti-retroviral coverage. The grant will support Myanmar’s goal of achieving universal access to anti-retroviral treatment by 2016, up from 43 percent in 2012. Tuberculosis afflicts some 300,000 people, and it is estimated that over 30% of tuberculosis cases remain undetected. Malaria is also a serious problem, with transmission rates high in nearly half of the country, putting 1 in 1,000 people at risk of infection.

Between 18-19 June 2013, the executive board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held its twenty-ninth in Colombo, Sri Lanka. At this meeting, the executive board favourably considered progress on the implementation of the new funding model approved at the twenty-eighth meeting of the board held in late 2012.   The new funding model greatly streamlined the way applicants apply for funding, obtain approval of their proposals, and then manage their grants.

“The new funding model is dynamic and exciting,” said Prof. C. O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health in Nigeria, who participated in the Board meeting. “It is welcome in the sense that it is flexible and makes for sustainability of programs based on country leadership and priorities.”

Essentially, the new funding model makes it easier for countries to receive funding while ensuring funds are being spent as described in the application. Under the new funding model, country eligibility was reviewed and an ‘allocation formula’ created to ensure countries received appropriate amounts necessary to fight the three diseases. The approval of these substantial grants to Myanmar, El Salvador and Zimbabwe indicates that the new funding model is robust and effective, and is working to allocate financial resources in a more timely and efficient manner.

Shawn Clackett

12 June 2013
Shawn Clackett

Confederation of African Football to Tackle Malaria

As Part of Long Term Agreement with the Roll Back Malaria Partnership

Memorandum of Understanding between the Confederation of African Football and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership builds on success of United Against Malaria campaign at 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations and solidifies long-term partnership, renewing commitment to the fight against malaria

FIFA 2013 - Football against Malaria

Mauritius – 29 May, 2013 – In conjunction with the FIFA Congress 2013 being held in Mauritius, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) today renewed its long-term commitment to the fight against malaria by signing a memorandum of understanding to designate the Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s United Against Malaria campaign as one of the social causes for future football tournaments including the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). Founded in advance of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, United Against Malaria is an alliance of football teams, celebrities, health and advocacy organizations, governments and corporations who have united to beat malaria. Malaria kills a child in Africa every 60 seconds.

“Through our partnership with the United Against Malaria campaign, we have seen the power football has to impact fans in malaria-endemic Africa by promoting life-saving messages about malaria prevention and treatment,” said Issa Hayatou, President of CAF. “We are proud to extend our relationship and support for the United Against Malaria campaign by reaffirming our commitment to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. We understand the challenges ahead in the fight against malaria and remain committed to leveraging our unique position to help advance progress.”

The memorandum of understanding reflects the successes of United Against Malaria’s campaign at the 2013 AFCON tournament, where an estimated billion Africans were reached with life-saving malaria education messages through tournament media, branding and promotional opportunities, including engagement of prominent celebrities and football icons, heads of state and dignitaries.

We have seen the power of football to engage and inspire communities, particularly in Africa, where 90% of global malaria cases occur, costing the continent an estimated minimum of US $12 billion in lost productivity each year. We encourage fans to listen, learn and act… We thank CAF for its ongoing support in the fight against malaria and we look forward to an exciting and impactful partnership as we work together to overcome this preventable and treatable disease.

– Herve Verhoosel, Head of External Relations for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.

Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease is preventable and treatable: simple tools like insecticide-treated mosquito nets, rapid diagnostic tests, effective treatments and safe indoor spraying can save lives. Yet despite tremendous progress in recent years, malaria continues to threaten the lives and livelihood of people and businesses across Africa.

Pacific Friends operates as a program within the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales.

Pacific Friends

Professor Janice Reid AC
Chair
Bill Bowtell AO
Executive Director

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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