According to data compiled by the Global Fund, since the introduction of the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) programme, the average cost of a course of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) in private pharmacies has dropped by about 90% in parts of Kenya and by about 40% to 90% in Ghana, the first two countries to participate in the programme.
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The Global Fund Board has approved two of the nine Round 9 proposals whose original rejection had been appealed by the applicants. The newly approved proposals are an HIV proposal from Pakistan that will cost $11.9 million and a TB proposal from Ukraine that will cost $34.6 million (costs are for the first two years). The approvals are subject to a number of requests for clarification being successfully responded to in a timely manner.
Aidspan, the NGO that publishes Global Fund Observer, has moved its primary base of operations from New York City, USA, to Nairobi, Kenya. (Publication of GFO was suspended during the transition, but resumes with this issue.)
Even among sub-Saharan nations, Kenya has been hard hit by disease - AIDS has left up to 1.5 million dead; TB cases have quintupled in the past decade; and malaria kills some 26,000 children annually. So for Kenya, the Global Fund could have been a magic bullet. Instead, this country's approach to the Fund has produced a string of disappointments.
On July 7 and 8, the Global Fund will hold its first bi-annual Partnership Forum in Bangkok, immediately prior to the International AIDS Conference. The role of the Partnership Forum is to provide a channel for feedback from people interested in the Fund who are not formally represented in the Fund's governance structure.
Something quite remarkable happened a few days ago. On Thursday 25 September, a simple and obvious proposal was made by Stephen Lewis, the passionate Canadian who serves as the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Speaking at a conference on AIDS in Nairobi, he said that Canada should issue a compulsory license to lift the patent protection that covers most anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).