“[T]he newly appointed temporary General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo and his team has moved forward to ‘transform’ the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] with considerable speed and deftness, restoring confidence among bilateral donors (such as Japan and several others) and country recipients as well as improving morale among the Fund’s staff,” Victoria Fan, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog. She explores some of the changes at the Global Fund and how “these changes help the Fund to achieve better health outcomes.” Fan writes, “In particular, I am very encouraged about the prospect of two changes: (1) the creation of a new Division called ‘Strategic Investment and Impact Evaluation’ which will shape the optimal portfolio of investments by country and disease …, and (2) the creation of new committees for each disease (AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria) that will meet monthly” (4/25).
Two separate posts in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog report on the International Treatment as Prevention conference in Vancouver. The first post recaps an update from Stephen Becker of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday “about the Foundation’s treatment optimization activities,” writing, “According to Becker, the Foundation acknowledges that treatment will be at the center of HIV prevention efforts, but ‘no amount of treatment will obviate the need for primary prevention modalities'” (Lubinski, 4/24). The second post reports that, “[d]espite its status as one of the poorest countries in Africa and its failed effort to garner a Round 10 grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — Malawi is moving forward to implement ‘Option B+’ for pregnant women,” meaning “pregnant and lactating women are enrolled in antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs for life, regardless of CD4 count” (Lubinski, 4/24).
“President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney have both prioritized deficit reduction, which, of course, is a worthy goal,” former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), chair of the non-profit Hope Through Healing Hands, writes in an opinion piece in The Week. “[M]any surveys put global health at the top of the list of things to slash. That’s a mistake,” he continues and lists five reasons why global health programs “ought to be spared the chopping block.”
In this post in her Global Health Blog, Guardian Health Editor Sarah Boseley examines the potential impact of reform within the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on the organization’s future. She writes, “It’s been only seven weeks since banker Gabriel Jaramillo took over as general manager of the [fund], but it is already clear the worthy organization set up by Kofi Annan to channel money to treat and prevent diseases in poor countries is a leaner, meaner machine.” She continues, “Jaramillo, former chair and chief executive of Sovereign Bank, brings a tougher attitude to the organization.”
The ONE blog examines how G8 foreign ministers “will additionally prioritize smart and effective global health, agriculture and nutrition plans at this year’s [s]ummit.” According to a statement from the G8 ministers, they reaffirmed their commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, called for an AIDS-free generation, and stated investments in agricultural development show progress, particularly when focused on nutrition and women, the blog notes (4/17).
This post by writer Cynthia Schweer in Foreign Policy Blogs Network describes the recent restructuring of the Secretariat at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with a focus on grant management. The reorganization is “important” because “[a]fter an age of largesse in global health funding, the financial crisis has caused funding increases to come to a screeching halt,” Schweer writes, saying, “Despite commitments that far outstretch current revenues, the Global Fund is still the most viable multilateral providing funding for global health.” She concludes, “Slowing down the pace of progress at this critical juncture will have implications that reverberate far beyond the realm of current programs” (4/13).
Inexpensive Female Genital Schistosomiasis Prevention Could Help Reduce Women’s Risk Of HIV Infection
In this Huffington Post “Global Motherhood” blog post, Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, describes female genital schistosomiasis (FGS), which affects more than 100 million women and girls in Africa and “causes horrific pain and bleeding in the uterus, cervix and lower genital tract, not to mention social stigma and depression.” According to studies, women affected by FGS “have a three- to four-fold increase in the risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS,” but a low-cost drug called praziquantel may prevent FGS “and therefore also serve as a low-cost AIDS prevention strategy if it is administered annually to African girls and women beginning in their school-aged years,” he notes.
In this post on the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby provides an update on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, stating, “I am buoyed by the reform that is happening at the Fund under the leadership of new General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo.” He adds, “When PEPFAR and the Fund coordinate, our investments against AIDS are expanded both geographically and programmatically. Simply put, a strong PEPFAR requires a strong Global Fund.” Goosby concludes, “I am proud of the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund, in part because it is a commitment to the work of PEPFAR. We have a unique opportunity in a tight fiscal environment to support the Fund at this critical juncture” (4/9).
In this Washington Post opinion piece, columnist Michael Gerson examines anti-malaria efforts in Zambia, writing, “Zambia has been the main test case for anti-malaria efforts during the last several years — a focus of funding by the U.S. government, the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.” He continues, “Now the Anglican Church, international aid groups and philanthropists … are attempting to fill remaining gaps in bednet coverage in remote border areas.”
Blog Examines Coordinated Effort To Monitor Drug Procurement Through Global Fund Grants In Kyrgyzstan
“In recent years, Kyrgyzstan has benefited from a significant increase in international funding to improve health care,” but, “[d]espite this influx of international funding, many people in Kyrgyzstan are unable to get the lifesaving medicines that they need,” Madina Tokombaeva, director of the Harm Reduction Network (HRN) in Kyrgyzstan, and Maryam Beishenova, program coordinator at HRN, write in this Open Society Foundations blog post. The authors describe how, in 2010, “three Kyrgyz organizations working on HIV and health issues — the Harm Reduction Network, Partnership Network, and Unity of People Living with HIV — launched a coordinated effort to monitor and analyze the procurement and distribution of medicines purchased with Global Fund grants.” They recount a court victory in which they gained access to Ministry of Health records and conclude, “Civil society organizations have been energized and we are committed to ensure that government agencies and donors are transparent and efficient” (4/5).