US$ 17 million to fight HIV,TB and malaria in the Pacific RegionAug 4, 2015
New York – Two new agreements reached in the Pacific by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) are set to provide a major boost in the fight against the three diseases in the region. The two grants, totalling US$17 million, have been awarded to UNDP as interim Principal Recipient of the Global Fund grant for the next two and a half years, starting 1 July 2015.
The first agreement, valued at US$ 14.2 million targets HIV and tuberculosis (TB), aims to strengthen prevention and treatment coverage for the two diseases, as well as expand the use of strategic information and research to address structural barriers to treatment. The grant will focus on hard to reach and vulnerable populations across 11 Pacific Island Countries (PICS), namely Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
TB, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) are important public health issues in the Pacific. TB incidence in the participating countries, for example, is higher than the global average at 130 per 100,000 people. While HIV prevalence remains low in most countries, the virus remains a threat. Significant vulnerabilities exist, including the lack of legal protection for populations at higher risk of infection such as sex workers and men who have sex with men; gender inequality and gender based violence: high rates of STIs which increase the risk of both acquiring and transmitting HIV; and limited access to HIV and STI prevention and sexual and reproductive health services.
The second agreement in the amount of US$ 2.7 million aims to achieve universal coverage of lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLINs) for the population of Vanuatu while ensuring national coordination, adequate monitoring and proper community mobilization. Although sustained efforts over the past five years have seen a significant reduction in malaria prevalence in Vanuatu from 33 per 1000 people in 2010 to just 9 in 2013, these lower rates can be further reduced with universal coverage of long lasting insecticide treated nets provided through the programme.
“In its partnership with the Global Fund, UNDP engages with government and civil society organisations and strengthens the linkages between these national partners. This is key to strengthening national capacities which are critical for effective and sustainable efforts in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria. UNDP looks forward to drawing on the advice and expertise of UN partner agencies, and regional organizations in the Pacific” said Osnat Lubrani, UNDP Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative in Fiji.
UNDP will engage with ministries of health and other partners, including civil society organisations, to strengthen the national response to HIV, TB and malaria as part of a country-led implementation of national and regional strategic plans for the three diseases. Collaborating with a range of stakeholders, UNDP will simultaneously support the strengthening of capacities in the health sector in order to improve the integration of health service delivery in the Pacific.
The Programmes will be guided by the Pacific Islands Regional Multi-Country Coordinating Mechanism (PIRMCCM), which was established to provide oversight of grant requirements and disbursements. The PIRMCCM is comprised of representatives from national government, civil society members, development partners and key populations.
“I welcome the new agreements, which are the culmination of significant collaboration between the national Country Coordinating Mechanisms, Ministries of Health, Civil Society, the PIRMCCM and the technical partners in the region,” said Siula Bulu, Chairperson of the Pacific Islands Regional Multi-Country Coordinating Mechanism. “With the Global Fund support and the ongoing efforts of all partners in the region, many lives in the 11 countries will be saved.”
Since 2003, UNDP has partnered with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to support implementation of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes in low and middle income countries, facilitating access to essential resources by countries that face constraints in directly receiving or managing such funding.
About the Global Fund
The Global Fund is a 21st-century organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The Global Fund raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 140 countries.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
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