Article from Friends of the Global Fight
At its 33rd Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the Global Fund named Norbert Hauser, a highly respected lawyer and international auditor, as the next Chair of its Board and Aida Kurtovic, Executive Director of Partnerships in Health, as Vice Chair.
Incoming Board Chair Hauser brings extensive experience in government and financial supervision and an in-depth understanding of the Global Fund to his new position. He has been a member of the German Parliament; Vice President of Germany’s supreme auditing institution; and External Auditor of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
In 2011, Mr. Hauser served on a high-level independent panel commissioned to review the Global Fund’s financial controls and operations to identify and recommend institutional improvements. In December 2012, he was appointed as the Global Fund’s interim Inspector General. In this role, which he held until September 2013, Mr. Hauser transformed the Office of the Inspector General, increasing cost and workload efficiencies and reviewing and improving its investigative work.
“Mr. Hauser has a long history of high-level public service in a variety of capacities, including as a lawyer, a mayor, a Member of Germany’s Parliament and an auditor of key multilateral institutions,” said Deb Derrick, President of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “Having worked with and been impressed by him during his time as interim Inspector General at the Global Fund, Friends welcomes the opportunity to work with him again as Board Chair.”
Mrs. Kurtovic also brings a deep knowledge of the Global Fund and global health to her new role. Since 2005, she has served as Executive Director of Partnerships in Health, a nongovernmental organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina that builds health knowledge and skills by educating and training primary care providers. Mrs. Kurtovic has been an active member of the Global Fund’s Board since 2012 and for the past year has served on the Global Fund’s Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee, which oversees the organization’s strategic direction to ensure optimal impact and performance. She is also a member of the Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the organization that works on the ground to guide Global Fund-sponsored programs in that country.
“Both Mr. Hauser and Mrs. Kurtovic will be valuable additions to the Global Fund,” Derrick said. “Friends looks forward to working closely with them to accelerate the fight to save lives around the world from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.”
30 years ago, Rotary International and the World Health Organization made a promise
to eradicate Polio from the world; and there is every hope that they can keep that promise.
MELBOURNE – The Burnet Institute, Australia’s largest virology and communicable disease research institute along with the Global Poverty Project, an international education and advocacy organization co-hosted a discussion ‘Polio Eradication: An End Game Strategy” on Friday 10 April 2015. The talk marked the 60th anniversary of the polio vaccine and was chaired by Professor Robert Power, a social scientist who has worked in the field of HIV prevention and social behavioral research since 1985.
Mr David Goldstome OAM began the talk by recounting the story of John, a young Sydney based man who contracted paralytic polio in the 1950s at the age of 20 years old. John was told he was not going to survive the debilitating disease and spent a very long time in hospital, fighting for his life. He had lost the ability to walk, to move his fingers, to move his body.
Heroically, John held and he kept fighting. With support, he gradually learned how to move his body again and, over time, he was able to walk again. Polio had not claimed his life, the way it had claimed so many others, mainly children. John went on to become a long-time polio eradication advocate. When David finished the story, he confessed that there was no John, for it was he, himself, who had survived.
The following speaker was Mr Chris Maher, Manager for Polio Eradication and Emergencies in the Middle East for the World Health Organization. After briefing the audience on what Polio is and this history of its eradication programs, Chris began talking about the core partnerships of the health initiative, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Thanks to support programs by Rotary International and the World Health Organization, 10-million cases of polio had been averted and thus saved $50-billion.
In 27 March 2014, WHO had announced that 80% of the world population was certified polio-free. There are three barricades that are preventing polio from being completely wiped-out: conflict within a country, constrained access and the movement of the disease. Polio has a remarkable capacity of spreading. Currently, polio is still endemic within three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. When asked “can we see an end to polio in 2015?” Mr Maher responded, “yes – but only if we have the will.”
Mr Brian Knowles AM, Rotary International’s National Advocacy Advisor, was the final speaker who spoke of the history of Rotary International and the partnerships that have formed. For two every dollars donated to fight polio, the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute one dollar.
Although we may be ‘this close’ to ending the disease, we are still not close enough. Polio is a disease that fights back, the knowledge and drive to end it is there, but without sufficient funding, the endgame will remain just out of reach.
In his report to the Board as part of its 33rd meeting, Global Fund executive director Mark Dybul reflected on his travels in the first quarter of 2015 and how his interactions at the country level demonstrated that, for all the growing pains experienced initially, the new funding model is doing what it was supposed to do ensure investment for impact.
Echoing the Office of the Inspector General’s assessment that the Global Fund was maturing, he said that it was right and appropriate for the Fund to begin embedding strategy in its design and development work, “to ensure management for impact”.
While acknowledging that there have been delays in submission by country coordinating mechanisms of the concept notes to access the $14.82 billion in available funding for HIV, TB, malaria and health systems strengthening, Dybul sounded an overall positive note about progress towards ending the three diseases.
In meetings with CCM, PR and government representatives in Papua New Guinea, Honduras, Haiti, Swaziland, South Africa and Zambia, Dybul said he heard consistently that the new funding model was easier — though still bureaucratic — to navigate. In recounting a meeting with a nun who has been engaged in Global Fund-supported work in PNG since the outset, he noted that she said, “finally the Global Fund is a humane organization, clearly focused on human beings”.
The formula, he said, is still a work in progress, but there are clear signs that it is moving in the right direction as in Haiti, where public hospitals are using health system strengthening funds to improve services available to TB patients. A hospital in Mirebalais, some 60km northeast of the capital Port-au-Prince, can claim a 100% cure rate for TB.
The “21st century partnership led by countries is moving beyond health towards sustainability,” as in Honduras, where faith-based and community-based organizations are being tremendously effective in delivering services for malaria.
By integrating Global Fund investments into a full slate of activities, programs and behavior change campaigns, both Zambia and Swaziland are tackling the rising threat of HIV infection among women and girls: the populations most vulnerable to transmission.
“We are not just leveraging resources for disease [response] but for health,” he said, also congratulating governments for committing some $3.9 billion in domestic financing to help support the full slate of envisioned activities across the Global Fund portfolio.
In painting a rosy picture globally, Dybul did also move to try and preempt some of the concerns that have been repeatedly raised by constituencies at the Board level, specifically related to the $1.1 billion anticipated gap due to shortened grant duration and the likelihood that the register of unfunded quality demand — currently sitting at around $1.9 billion — will not be fully funded.
He also acknowledged the challenges about the sustainability of programs that have traditionally been the purview of the Fund in countries preparing to graduate from Global Fund eligibility and agreed that the pace at which the Fund is moving towards transition has not been completely matched by countries themselves.
He called for efforts, worldwide, to continue “aggressive relationship-building” between civil society and government, in order to link communities to the health system at all levels.
Such linkages were imperative, many constituencies noted in their reactions to Dybul’s presentation, evidenced by the current Ebola crisis still gripping three west African states — which demonstrates the need for integration of disease-specific programs into basic primary health care, wider deployment of community-based initiatives and a mobilization of local resources that goes beyond the financial.
To reach more than three million people who are affected by tuberculosis but not diagnosed or treated, the world needs community champions like Timpiyian Leseni, from the Maasai community in Kenya. She is a survivor of abdominal TB. In 2012, she developed a bulging belly that mystified her and her doctors. It got so serious it required surgery that lasted six hours, and drained copious amounts of fluid from her intestines.
Unfortunately, the really hard part came when she started her TB treatment. It was long, tiring and nauseating. She endured daily injections for the first month and daily pills for seven more months. As she lived through the pain of TB, Timpiyian decided to dedicate her life to helping her community fight the disease.
The Maasai live in villages with huts that have little or no ventilation, providing fertile grounds for TB infection. They like unpasteurised milk and uncooked meat and blood, which can serve as a source of tuberculosis.
As she recovered, Timpiyian formed a community group of barefoot doctors who walk for miles to track and trace new TB patients. She called the community-based organisation Talaku – which means “set them free” in her language. With her fellow community workers, Timpiyian journeys through boulder-strewn dirt roads, climbing hills, descending valleys and crossing plains in search of people suffering from TB.
Sometimes they trail people who have been exposed to TB and have not been tested. Other times they look for people who started treatment but dropped off, and find them in drinking dens in small towns, or deep in the bush, since the Maasai often move in search of pastures and water for their animals. Timpiyian’s team goes on foot or motorcycle taxis known as boda boda. It is not always easy to persuade people with TB to come back to the hospital.
Just last week, she tracked two people who had defaulted on treatment. One said he was too busy; the other lied that he had completed his treatment. Timpiyian felt she had no choice but to involve the authorities – who arrested the men, and put them behind bars until they complete their medicine.
When Timpiyian tells her patients to get treatment, she often talks about living through the same pain, and losing ten months of her life. She has a warmth and a wisdom that earned her the nick name “Mama TB.” “Fighting TB is my life,” Timpiyian said. “It is so satisfying to reach somebody who is almost dying and after six months see them walk again.”
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.