THE GLOBAL FUND’S LATEST SURVEY SHOWS WIDESPREAD DISRUPTIONS TO HIV, TB, AND MALARIA TREATMENT DUE TO COVID-19
Download PDF A series of reports on the effects of COVID-19 on the health sector, mainly on HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria services, have been published in recent weeks. This article highlights these reports and the main findings: COVID-19 and HIV: A tale of two pandemics The International AIDS Society, which convenes the biennial International AIDS 2020 Conference, released a…Article Type:
The severity of disruption appears to have increased
ABSTRACT A series of recent publications demonstrate the disruptive effect the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on the health sector, mainly on HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria services. However, the publications also highlight innovations that countries have adopted to ensure the continuity of services amid the pandemic. In other news, the Global Fund has also consolidated two submission windows, and listed submission dates and planned review timings for windows in 2021.
A series of reports on the effects of COVID-19 on the health sector, mainly on HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria services, have been published in recent weeks. This article highlights these reports and the main findings:
The International AIDS Society, which convenes the biennial International AIDS 2020 Conference, released a report, in July 2020, titled COVID_19 and HIV: A tale of two pandemics. The report explores the effect COVID-19 is having on the HIV response. The report identified three main effects: the shift of resources within the health system to focus on COVID-19, exacerbation of challenges for people living with HIV and key populations, and exposed weaknesses in health care systems such as the supply chains. For HIV service delivery, the report recommends multi-month refills, out-of-facility pickup points for refills and HIV testing, and use of technology, among others. For the COVID-19 response, the report also recommends a rights-based approach, strengthening community responses and strengthening supply chain systems, among others.
A new report by Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the gains made in the HIV response. The report, Seizing the Moment, noted that a six-month disruption in HIV treatment could cause more than 500 000 additional AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2021. The pandemic has negatively affected HIV services including voluntary medical circumcision, condom production and distribution, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV testing and treatment, among others. The report encourages countries to draw lessons and leadership from the HIV response as they address the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also highlighted how countries have adapted their HIV services, including key populations, amid the pandemic. These include home deliveries of HIV self-test kits and antiretrovirals, and multi-month drug refills.
The Global Fund’s latest survey, published on 10 July 2020, shows that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to disrupt HIV, TB, and malaria services. The survey, which the Global Fund refers to as the COVID-19 Country Monitoring Tool, is the latest biweekly online survey completed by country-based local fund agents (LFAs) across Global Fund-supported countries.
At least three-quarters of the 106 countries that completed the survey reported either moderate, high, or very high disruptions in HIV and TB services, while two-thirds reported the same for malaria service provision. The main causes of the disruption include lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings, and transport stoppages. However, fewer countries reported disruptions than in the survey of 1 June. Countries that reported low or no disruptions increased by 5% for HIV, 3% for TB, and 7% for malaria. However, the severity of disruptions appears to have worsened; countries that did report high or very high levels of disruptions increased by 3% for HIV, 2% for TB, and 4% for malaria.
The results of this survey can be found on the Global Fund website.
The Global Fund has updated the list of submission dates for funding requests for the 2020-2022 cycle. Specifically, the Global Fund has consolidated Windows 3a (scheduled for 31 July 2020) and 3b (31 August 2020) into one window (Window 3) due to the low number of registrations for Window 3a. The new Window 3 submission deadline is 31 August 2020, with the review by the Technical Review Panel (TRP) planned for October 2020. The Global Fund had added new submission windows, in March 2020, to the three that were initially defined, to give countries additional opportunities to submit their applications amidst the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Global Fund has also listed the submission dates and planned review timings for windows four through six, scheduled in 2021.