Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Latin America and Caribbean must not lose out

14
APR
2010

Aids Alliance

Concerns are being raised by the Friends of the Global Fund that HIV, TB and Malaria programmes in the Latin America and Caribbean region are going to be adversely affected by the Global Fund’s current funding shortfall.

The Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria is reportedly reviewing its model for prioritising grant proposals because of the restricted funding environment.

Donors' request priorities

A call from donors to focus more on low-income countries would exclude many middle-income countries, thereby leaving many Latin American and Caribbean countries out of an opportunity to secure funds to deal with their focused epidemics.

Latin America and the Caribbean received just under 7% of total funds approved globally by the Global Fund, of which just under 70% has been for HIV.

Recent studies show that MSM and transgender HIV prevalence rates in this region requires significant investment given prevalence rates as high as 40% in some groups.

The Fund’s for all

As Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund emphasised in his response, “The Fund is a mechanism which funds the fight against these epidemics, and does this based on evidence and public health criteria. The Fund cannot choose to invest in some countries, while ignoring others. We should continue to fulfil our role as a catalyst in those countries with concentrated epidemics.”

A lack of political commitment on the part of donor governments as well as apathy at governmental and civil society levels in many developing countries is proving problematic. This, combined, with the global economic crisis has left the ability for the Global Fund to raise the 20 billion it needs in the next three years in question.

Technical merit first and foremost

The Friends of the Global Fund are calling for prioritisation of proposals to continue to remain first and foremost on the basis of technical merit.

Javier Hourcade, of the Friends of the Global Fund said, “There needs to be equity between countries with a generalised epidemic and those with a concentrated epidemic with a prevalence rate higher than 5% in more than one population group.

“We need donors to show political will to do the right thing and make sure that people living in Latin America, the Caribbean are not sent to the back of the queue again.”

Update

Friends of Global Fund Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), along with other stakeholders, ran a campaign collecting signatures in Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa to support a petition to the Global Fund board on the prioritisation issue.

In just one week it collected 1300 signatures. This was acknowledged during the meeting and a special track of funding was approved for Round 10 for programmes with most at risk populations in countries with concentrated epidemics, which partially addresses what the petition requested to the board.