14 September 2011
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Pacific Friends now active on social media

Although Pacific Friends has been operating as a high-level advocacy organisation since 2009, the time now seems right to venture into the social media domain. As part of this we have updated our website, created a Pacific Friends Facebook page and now also have a presence on Twitter @PacificFriends.

29 August 2011
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Reception by Pacific Friends & The University of New South Wales

On Monday 22 August 2011, Pacific Friends of the Global Fund was pleased to welcome Dr Christoph Benn, Director of External Relations at the Global Fund, to Australia.

Dr Benn’s two day visit started with a busy schedule in Canberra, where he met with a wide range of politicians, policymakers and NGO representatives. Discussions focused mostly on the strained financial environment in which the Global Fund’s largest donors are struggling to continue their funding at the same level. One of the reasons the Global Fund’s External Relations Director visited the Asia-Pacific was to get emerging economies more engaged in development aid, but also specifically in health and the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The visit of Dr Benn coincided with the official reception to welcome Pacific Friends to the University of New South Wales on Tuesday 23 August at the UNSW campus in Kensington. Prior to the reception, Pacific Friends had invited key representatives from the academia, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to a round-table briefing with Christoph Benn. After a short presentation by Christoph on the present position of the Global Fun an interesting discussion ensued on the financial situation of the international community and the ramifications for the Global Fund.

The ensuing reception, hosted by Pacific Friends and the UNSW Foundation, to welcome Pacific Friends to UNSW as the new hosting institution was attended by close to a hundred people. In two short speeches by Bill Bowtell, Executive Director of Pacific Friends and Wendy McCarthy, Chair of Pacific Friends, the mission and purposes of Pacific Friends was outlined to the audience. Next Jennifer Bott, Chief Executive of the UNSW Foundation, welcomed Pacific Friends to UNSW. This was followed by Dr Christoph Benn who explained the nature of his work for the Global Fund and praised Pacific Friends for its successful support of the Global Fund. To conclude, Bill Whittaker thanked Dr Christoph Benn and Pauline Mazue from the Global Fund, Dianne Stewart and David Cook from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and the audience for the presence.

19 May 2011
Bill Bowtell

New hosting institution

In May 2011, Pacific Friends of the Global Fund moved from the Lowy Institute for International Policy to a new home at the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society within the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The University of New South Wales has a long history of involvement in global health issues and especially in the response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Through such dynamic institutions as the Kirby Institute (formerly the National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research), the National Centre in HIV Social Research, UNSW Medicine and St Vincent’s Hospital, UNSW has built up a generation of expertise in all aspects of Australian and international HIV care, treatment, prevention and research.

Pacific Friends will therefore find at UNSW a rich and congenial environment in which to expand its advocacy and support for the development of the Global Fund brand in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region.

At UNSW, Pacific Friends will also seek to draw upon the expertise and interest of the UNSW Foundation and the Centre for Social Impact.

At all levels, the association with UNSW represents a solid foundation of interest and support that will enable Pacific Friends to better serve its key stakeholders and supporters – the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

13 December 2010
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

World AIDS Day 2010 in Sydney

In honour of World AIDS Day the Product (RED) Landmark Campaign set out to highlight the attainable goal of ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015, creating the first generation in almost 30 years of babies born without HIV.

More than 80 prominent landmarks across 13 countries were lit in red in recognition of the Product (RED) Landmark Campaign to promote awareness of the ongoing fight against the AIDS epidemic.

Photo by Sam Groves, Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General.

On 30 November, the eve of World AIDS Day 2010, Pacific Friends of the Global Fund in collaboration with (RED) and the New South Wales Government held a function in which the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, with the New South Wales Premier, Kristina Keneally, and U2 front-man Bono, lighted the Opera House and Harbour Bridge red to mark World AIDS Day.

The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge were the first icons to be illuminated red on the eve of World AIDS Day 2010. Landmarks across the world followed, including the Table Mountain in South Africa, the London Eye and the Empire State Building in New York, illuminating time zone-by-time zone ending with LAX in Los Angeles.

To help turn the world (RED) next year in honour of World AIDS Day 2011, visit www.joinred.com

9 December 2010
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Health system strengthening in rural Papua New Guinea: exploring the role of demand-responsive instruments

In a collaborate project of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Pacific Friends of the Global Fund and The Myer Foundation Melanesia Program, commissioned a research paper on health system strengthening in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This Lowy Institute research project, by authors Dr Katherine Lepani and Ms Julienne McKay, proposes a new and creative approach to strengthening PNG’s health system.

The Government of PNG has outlined 7 priorities for 2011-2015 in its budget strategy paper for 2011, including, ‘improving health outcomes’. The inclusion of health as a priority for the record 2011 budget is a positive step by the government. But improving health is not just about improving the bucket of money the government allocates. It is timely to integrate creative approaches to ensure a better health system for all.

In this policy brief and analysis paper Julienne McKay and Dr Katherine Lepani therefore identify the significant potential for the PNG government to deliver better health services for all Papuan New Guineans. Major health problems are now preventable. Cost-effective options are available to Papua New Guineans to treat malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis and HIV as well as to reduce infant and maternal mortality. The authors then explore how demand responsive mechanisms (vouchers, micro-health insurance, social franchises and social businesses) can be a compelling addition to strengthening health systems in PNG. This research looks at the potential use of these instruments with a focus on HIV, maternal health, tuberculosis and malaria, and contains policy recommendations for government, the private sector and donors.

The National Research Institute in Port Moresby kindly hosted the launch of the Lowy Institute analysis paper and policy brief on Thursday 25 November 2010 at their conference centre. In attendance were, amongst others, Dr Paison Dakulala (Deputy Secretary of Health), His Excellency Ian Kemish (Australia’s High Commissioner to PNG), Stephanie Copus-Campbell (Head of AusAID in PNG), and Dr. Musawe Sinebare (Deputy Director National Research Institute).

Download the Lowy Policy Brief “Revitalising Papua New Guinea’s health system: the need for creative approaches”

Download the Lowy Analysis “Health system strengthening in rural Papua New Guinea: exploring the role of demand-responsive instruments”

Video coverage available on YouTube

Newspaper coverage of the launch in The National

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

Pacific Friends

Professor Janice Reid AC
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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