20 April 2016
Shawn Clackett

What’s the Buzz? Dame Quentin Bryce Launches International Malaria Congress in Brisbane

ICTMM

BRISBANE – On Friday 15 April, The Honorable Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO, Australia’s 25th Governor-General, officially launched the International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria 2016.

The launch took place at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Hosted by Professor Cheryl Jones, President of the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) and Professor David Emery, President of the Australian Society for Parasitology along with Associate Professor Helen Evans, from the Advisory Council of Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Ms Michelle Aldridge recounted her personal experience with malaria, which she contracted while volunteering in the Solomon Islands in 2012.

Expert panel moderated by Dr Norman Swan, Host, ABC RN Health Report consisted of Professor Maxine Whittaker (James Cook University), Professor James McCarthy (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute), Associate Professor (Hon) Helen Evans (Pacific Friends of the Global Fund), Rev Tim Costello (World Vision Australia), Dr Ben Rolfe (Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance, APLMA) and Professor Sharon Lewin (the Doherty Institute) discussed the importance and significance of the congress, the breakthroughs in malaria, health security within Australia and the need to continue funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The number of deaths caused by malaria declined 48 percent between 2000 and 2014. The number of lives saved by malaria treatment and prevention has grown steadily each year. Children under the age of five are the most vulnerable to malaria, because their immune systems are still developing effective resistance to the disease. Pregnant women are also vulnerable, because their immune systems are weakened during pregnancy. Protecting young children and pregnant women is paramount to any disease strategy.

The innovation of a long-lasting insecticidal mosquito net, at a relatively low cost, has greatly expanded protection for children and families. With more than 548 million mosquito nets distributed, people at risk for malaria who gained access to mosquito nets grew from 7 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2010 and 56 percent in 2014 in countries where the Global Fund invests.

 

12 April 2016
Shawn Clackett

New Zealand Announces Early Contribution to the Global Fund

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New Zealand Ambassador to the European Union Vangelis Vitalis

GENEVA – New Zealand has announced that it will make an early contribution to the Global Fund, one of the first countries to pledge in support of the Global Fund’s replenishment for the three-year period beginning in 2017.

Ambassador Vangelis Vitalis announced the contribution during a meeting at the Global Fund offices in Geneva. “Lifting the burden of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria helps build prosperity and security, both in the Pacific and around the world. New Zealand is pleased to play its part in the Global Fund partnership,” Dr. Vitalis said.

Marijke Wijnroks, Chief of Staff of the Global Fund, signed the agreement with Dr. Vitalis on 8 April. “We are very pleased that New Zealand is in the Global Fund partnership in this important year.”

New Zealand’s contribution is worth NZ$1 million. The announcement followed news in March 2016 that the European Union pledged a significant increase in its contribution to the Global Fund for the next three years.

The Global Fund is partnering with governments, medical experts, advocates, civil society and people living with HIV, TB and malaria to fight the three diseases in the Indo-Pacific region.

Through programs supported by the Global Fund, 17 million lives have been saved and we are on track to reach 22 million by the end of 2016. In the Indo-Pacific region alone, Global Fund supported programs have saved 8.3 million lives to date.

This year, a strong Replenishment for the Global Fund is aiming for a US$13 billion investment for the 2017-2019 funding cycle. That would save up to eight million lives, avert up to 300 million infections and new cases of HIV, TB and malaria, and lay the groundwork for potential economic gains of up to US$290 billion in the years ahead.

12 April 2016
Shawn Clackett

Global Fund Names Rahul Singhal as Chief Risk Officer

GENEVA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has named Rahul Singhal, a senior global risk management and treasury executive, as its new Chief Risk Officer.

Mr. Singhal has 28 years of experience in risk management in the financial services industry, building and leading risk management teams, and executing complex global initiatives including acquisitions and strategic investments. Mr. Singhal joined the Global Fund in October 2015 as Deputy Chief Risk Officer, and has been Acting Chief Risk Officer since January 2016.

“Rahul brings unparalleled experience and perspective on risk,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “His tremendous expertise and knowledge will guide us through the increasingly complex challenges we face, and it’s great that he can serve in this role.”

The Chief Risk Officer position was created in 2012 to strengthen risk management at the Global Fund. The Chief Risk Officer is responsible for supervising overall risk management, and serves on the Management Executive Committee.

At Bank of America, Mr. Singhal served in numerous positions overseeing credit and market risk, counterparty risk and operational risk over a period that included two severe financial crises – in 1997 in Asia and in 2008 globally. Originally from India, he holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi.

 

7 April 2016
Shawn Clackett

A New Era for Roll Back Malaria: Announcement of the New Board

The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership has named a new board to lead the global organization into a new era and drive momentum to end malaria for good.

The intensified, collaborative effort by RBM partners to support affected countries to end malaria is saving millions of lives, increasing attendance at school, improving worker productivity and boosting local economies. But malaria remains a serious public health threat. Eliminating malaria is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and must remain a key priority for the global development community.

In the middle of December 2013, the RBM Board commissioned an external evaluation to ensure the Partnership was well positioned to drive continued momentum towards a malaria-free world This evaluation concluded that significant adjustments to RBM’s structure would be necessary to sustain its successes and build on them to deliver on the ambitious goals and objectives of the 2030 WHO Global Technical Strategy (GTS) and accompanying RBM Action and Investment to defeat Malaria (AIM).

After a period of extensive consultation, the RBM Board agreed at its 29th Meeting in December 2015 on a new governance architecture. This included the establishment of a reconstituted Partnership Board, which could take advantage of the tremendous skill, energy and effectiveness of its partners and lead the organization into a new era with a focus on ending malaria. As a result, a transparent public nomination process was announced in January 2016 to identify outstanding new Board members.

The response to the call for nominations was overwhelming: more than 100 nominations were received from the wide malaria and related multi-sectoral community, including government, civil society, non-government organisations, the private sector, donor funding organisations (governmental, multilateral or private philanthropic), and research and academia.

After a robust assessment and selection process 13 individuals have been chosen to take the revitalised Partnership forward, along with an additional Board member to be named by the WHO:

  • Mr Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Mr Simon Bland, Director – New York Office, UNAIDS
  • Prof Awa Coll-Seck, Minister of Health & Social Welfare, Senegal
  • Mr Kieran Daly, Deputy Director: Global Policy & Advocacy – Malaria, HIV, TB and the Global Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Mr Paolo Gomes, Chairman, Paulo Gomes and Partners, former Executive Director, World Bank
  • Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi, Elimination 8 Ambassador, former Minister of Health, Namibia
  • Dr Altaf Lal, Senior Advisor on Global Health and Innovation, Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries
  • Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, former Assistant Director General – Malaria, HIV, TB, NTDs, WHO
  • Mr Ray Nishimoto, President of Health & Crop Sciences Sector, Sumitomo Chemical
  • Dr David Reddy, Chief Executive, Medicines for Malaria Venture
  • Mr Gu Xueming, President of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation
  • HE Yongyuth Yuthavong, Deputy Prime Minister, Thailand
  • Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer USN (ret), Global Co-ordinator, US President’s Malaria Initiative

This new Partnership Board includes individuals with deep expertise and experience at a senior decision-making level as well as representation from across the Partnership, including malaria-affected countries, private sector, civil society, donor funding organisations, and entities outside the malaria and health sectors, civil society and donors.

In confirming the result of the vote the current Board Chair the Honorable Victor Makwenge Kaput stated that he believed that the individuals selected:
Represented an impressive group of distinctly qualified individuals who will be well-positioned to take the RBM Partnership to a new level in its evolution.

The new Board are expected to assume responsibility for leading the Partnership from April 2016 and RBM are confident that the changes to the architecture of the Partnership will result in a strengthened malaria partnership well-positioned to support the delivery of the ambitious goal of Ending Malaria for Good.

16 March 2016
Shawn Clackett

PEPFAR: Is 90-90-90 Magical Thinking?

The Lancet
By Scott Barnhart
March 2016

The world is too complicated for disease-specific approaches to health, as the ravages of Ebola in weak health systems have shown. A health-system strengthening approach will ensure that, especially in times of austerity, there are local institutions and infrastructure in place to provide care for all.

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The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) 3.0 has embarked on an important refocusing to achieve epidemic control through 90-90-90 (90% of HIV-positive individuals knowing their status, 90% of those receiving antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of those achieving viral suppression).1 and 2 Despite good intentions, the implementation is creating health-system disruption. For example, in Zimbabwe, a voluntary medical male circumcision programme will now serve ten instead of 21 districts. Ambassador Birx, referring to these programme cuts as “efficiencies”, touted that funds will be freed up “for the greatest impact.3” Although this might optimise impact in areas of the highest HIV/AIDS burden, medical sites are being triaged, with patients losing services and investments being wasted. Concentration on fewer districts also leads to poaching of health workers from already understaffed sites elsewhere.

Full story

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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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