Global Fund News Flash
Viral load testing is the best way to know if a child is HIV positive. It’s also a powerful tool to determine if HIV drugs are working. The problem is that until now, the tests were often prohibitively expensive and contract terms varied.
New agreements struck between the Global Fund and seven diagnostic manufacturers aim to change that. After a year of in-depth negotiation and intense study of the market, the Global Fund sourcing team believes it’s found a route to affordable and stable prices, better contracting, and hopefully, expanded testing.
The manufacturers have agreed to provide the test components at a stable and competitive all-inclusive price as low as US$15 per test, which includes the cost of testing equipment. Today, tests can cost as much as US$85.
A more competitive price is welcome, but Christopher Game, the Global Fund Procurement head, explained that it’s not the only benefit of the agreement.
“What we were really after was transparency and reliability,” Game said. “So yes, the price reduction is great, because it will free up money to do more testing. But just as importantly, we now have transparency around the various components of that price, such as transport and machine maintenance.”
The machines required for the tests don’t come cheap, selling for around US$150,000. By stabilizing the other elements required to test, Game and his team expect to see an expansion in the number of tests done.
The agreement should deliver net savings of at least US$30 million over three years to the Global Fund, and potentially much more. Seven manufacturers have been through a technical and commercial evaluation before being added to the panel of suppliers. The framework agreements last at least three years. Other public health funders and agencies will also be able to enter into agreements based on the benchmark prices and contracting negotiated.
Global Fund News Flash
The Stop TB Partnership launched an online consultation process today to engage a wide group of stakeholders in developing the Global Plan to Stop TB 2016-2020. The development of the Global Plan seeks to be as inclusive as possible, and the online consultation (http://stoptbplan2020.org/) aims to reflect a diverse range of input, including the voices of people, professional groups and TB constituencies who may not have been reached previously. The consultation process will run from 10 June to 10 August 2015. Participants are encouraged to provide comments based on top line questions.
Since its creation, the Stop TB Partnership has issued five and ten-year Global Plans for concerted global advocacy actions, and to provide an estimate for the resources needed to reach the WHO End TB Strategy goals by 2035. The current Global Plan provides a ‘business case’ for the period 2016-2020. It is meant as an instrument for those working with TB and those allocating funding.
The Stop TB Partnership said that to achieve WHO’s End TB Strategy goals, significant changes need to be made in the way most countries organize and run their TB interventions and programmes. An acceleration in research and development of new drugs, diagnostics tools and a vaccine is also imperative, it said.
In addition to the online consultation, the Global Plan to Stop TB 2016-2020 will be informed by the outcomes of four regional consultation meetings. The Global Plan will be launched at the end of the year in Cape Town, South Africa, during the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health.
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.
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.