“Given that Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) continues to face the world’s fastest-growing HIV epidemic and an alarming problem of drug-resistant TB, we recognize the importance of continuing support to those programs in your region.”
This statement was made by Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul in a letter sent on 25 February to the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN). Dr Dybul was responding to a letter which EHRN sent on 17 December on behalf of a number of organisations. That letter expressed concerns about recent developments at the Global Fund (see GFO article).
Dr Dybul said that there is an explicit provision in the new funding model (NFM) that allows for regional grants and grants targeting most-at-risk populations, which otherwise would not be provided for under a funding allocation methodology that considers disease burden and ability to pay alone.
In addition, Dr Dybul said, the Global Fund’s renewed commitment to fund high impact interventions is something that the EECA can use to its advantage.
“Although our focus will be on countries with the highest disease burden and the least ability to pay, if we are to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria within a generation we need to make sure our efforts are global and nobody is left behind,” Dr Dybul said.
Sex workers, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender people, prisoners and young women are driving the epidemics, Dr Dybul said, and these populations are disproportionally affected by HIV and TB in EECA. “We will find ways to make sure our investment in the future will continue contributing to addressing inequities in health, legal obstacles, discrimination and human rights abuses.”
Dr Dybul added that this will require civil society to be more active than ever and that the Global Fund relies on organisations like the EHRN “to engage at all levels and hold the Global Fund accountable.”
The letter from Dr Dybul can be downloaded directly here.