Press Release:-Friday, September 30, 2016 — GEORGETOWN GUYANA: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Global Fund convened a Side Event at the PAHO 55th Directing Council to provide for an update on the developments of the Global Fund in the Latin American and Caribbean Region.
Speaking at the Side Event, Hon. Nickolas Steele, Minister of Health and Social Security, Grenada and Board Member, Latin America and Caribbean Constituency of the Global Fund Board stated that at the recently concluded 5th Replenishment Conference in Montreal, Canada, donors including the private sector and implementing countries pledged US12.9 Billion to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the next three (3) years.
‘We are heartened by this extraordinary global commitment toward ending the three (3) epidemics,’ stated Minister Steele.
The Minister further stated that the allocation based funding model adopted by the Global Fund since 2014 is predictable and agile but it is still relying on the GDP and burden of disease indicators. ‘These we believe are not coherent nor conducive to the New Strategy 2017-2022 vision of ending the epidemics’, stated Minister Steele, ‘It is critical to protect the gains and to support countries already moving into the elimination phase by applying the catalytic funding in the most appropriate and smarter way’.
He also indicated that it is crucial to support civil society and particularly people affected by these diseases by strengthening their capacity to participate and to contribute fully in policy development and implementation.
The Minister advocated that governments must commit to remove legal and other barriers to ensure full social inclusion and access to health for key and vulnerable populations.
Minister Steele urged that special attention is needed for the LAC countries in transition to ensure sustainable outcomes and that the Global Fund needs to provide appropriate support that is not only financial, but which requires a strong and capable regional team.
The Minister explained that to achieve the objective of the elimination of the three diseases, there must be a re-examination of the policy of GDP per capita verses disease burden.
‘We need to give serious thought to the principle that as a country’s population progresses economically, it becomes more mobile and also risks greater exposure to HIV/AIDS in particular,’ stated Minister Steele, ‘let us acknowledge that we have a young population, for whom the perceived threat of HIV is not as frightening. If we do not address this we risk rolling back our gains’.
The Minister concluded his remarks by stating that the Region has a very high return on investment and is available to contribute best practices and experts through South-South cooperation that should be supported by the Global Fund.