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African Constituencies Adopt New System of Selection
Officials from 30 African countries - including five health ministers - decided at a meeting in Johannesburg last week to change the way they choose their representatives on the Global Fund Board and its committees. Going forward, they will adopt a competency-based selection system to replace the current country alphabetical rotation. The selection reform was one of the key decisions made. The meeting, convened from 9 to 11 July by the Vice-Chair of the Board, Dr Mphu Ramatlapeng, brought together the two African constituencies represented on the Global Fund Board: West and Central Africa, and East and Southern Africa. “It was an excellent meeting. It was the first time that the two African constituencies had come together to discuss their representation within Global Fund governance structures,” said Dr Mphu, former Minister of Health from Lesotho. “I believe they made a number of important decisions in this regard. The working group that planned this meeting did an admirable job of ensuring that the discussions focused on key topics such as processes to select representatives, prepare them for Board and committee meetings, and communication within the constituencies.” In the future, a screening panel will make a short list of the best candidates. The constituency members will then cast their votes for the representative from the list. In addition, terms of reference will be developed for Alternate Board Members as well as committee and delegation members. As with Board Members, all constituency representatives will be evaluated against performance indicators. The countries will develop positions by broad consultation prior to each Board and committee meeting. Among a total of 78 participants at the Johannesburg meeting were the ministers of health of Eritrea, Ghana, Mauritius, Swaziland, and Sudan, and secretaries of health and Country Coordinating Mechanism chairs. Partners in the region and representatives from other Board constituencies, such as Developing Countries and Communities, also participated in the meeting.
We are always on the look-out for ideas and examples of innovative financing. That may sound like a term for complex maneuvers by bankers and financial analysts. But in an era of tightening resources, it can also mean finding simple ways to raise money locally to complement existing funding. We noticed one such case on a visit last week to Zambia. Our Lady’s Hospice in Kalingalinga, Zambia, gets support from the Churches Health Association of Zambia, a Principal Recipient for the Global Fund. The hospice has an antiretroviral treatment clinic, an HIV/TB and community outreach program, and an inpatient facility with 30 beds where patients with infections that take advantage of weakness in the immune system are treated as needed. The hospice is located in one of the high density areas of Lusaka, and serves a population of 200,000 people. Haripriya Eswaran, who volunteers as the officer in charge of the clinic, told us that the hospice is finding ways to generate additional income in order to keep services at the hospice available: opening gym facilities to the general public for a fee, renting out meeting rooms, even renting out smaller rooms to volunteers who work at the hospice. Dr Clement Chela, Director General of the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council, told us that he had returned to Zambia four months ago after having lived in the UK, India and Botswana. He is now full of entrepreneurial ideas to generate additional resources for prevention interventions against the diseases that the council targets. “Progress is going to stall if we don’t find sustainable funding,” Dr Chela said. “We need to develop our own resources, and need to be able to generate more public-private partnerships.” He mentioned partnering with mobile phone companies, leveraging the tourism industry, and using HIV strategies in the workplace to generate grants for women. Many health workers and administrators in Zambia are finding ways to complement international financing at a time when the country is getting close to reaching universal access for AIDS, TB and malaria.
Private Sector Event in Bangkok
About 100 people from Thai companies and other business enterprises with a presence in the Asia-Pacific region gathered for a Global Fund business forum on 11-12 July in Bangkok. “The participants have committed to engage the businesses they represent in the fight against these three deadly diseases by promoting prevention and education among employees and surrounding communities,” said Anthony Pramualratana, executive director of the Thailand Business Coalition on AIDS, which co-organized the event. “Some will be able to make larger investments in their companies to improve the lives of the people affected, others will make smaller contributions. But the engagement is big and solid, from all of them.” Dr Christoph Benn, Director of Resource Mobilization and Donor Relations at the Global Fund, spoke about how companies play an essential role together with the Global Fund to help save and improve lives by assisting with drug delivery, supplying resources, or mobilizing consumer markets. “Ten years ago the international community decided to fight together the three epidemics and created the Global Fund,” said Dr Benn. “With the combined support of the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, we have achieved amazing results. We need to keep the momentum and win the fight, and in order to do that the engagement of the private sector, including the Asian business community, is vital.” Other speakers at the event included Michael Schreiber, Managing Director from GBC Health; Lyn Kok, President and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Thailand; Ken Shibusawa, President of the Japan Center for International Exchange; Anita Wei, Director of Communication for Greater China at Becton, Dickinson and Company; and Koichi Kaneda, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Takeda Pharmaceutical.
AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.
Anyone who has taken part in the once-every-two-years International AIDS Conference knows what a big deal it is in the global health field. This year’s event is being held in Washington, D.C. from 22 to 27 July, (yes, that’s next week) - the first time the conference has been held in the United States since 1987. Only after President Obama lifted the ban on visas for HIV-positive delegates would organizers consider holding it on American soil. And so 25,000-plus delegates are about to gather not far from the White House. Organizers are billing the conference, whose official theme is “Turning the tide together”, as “a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learned, and collectively chart a course forward.” There will be “structured dialogue” on major issues and, if history is any guide, a fair amount of unstructured dialogue as well. There may be strong assertions about the need for global action. There may be softer perspective on the remarkable progress that has been made, such as sharply reducing the cost of yearly treatment for HIV. Senior staff of the Global Fund will conduct and be participating in several sessions at the conference. Here’s what to look for, in case you are there:
- “The Global Fund and PEPFAR: Strategic Collaboration for Greater Impact” on Sunday, 22 July 13.30-15.30, Mini Room 6
- “The Global Fund in 2012: New Directions” on Sunday, 22 July 15:45-17:45, mini-room 4
- “Getting it Right: Ensuring a Human Rights Approach to Global Fund-supported Programs” on Monday, 23 July 14:30-16:00, Community Dialogue Space)
- “Leaders Meet Leaders: Communities and the Global Fund” on Wednesday, 25 July, 16:30-18.00, Community Dialogue Space
- “The Global Fund: The Next 5 Years” on Thursday, 26 July 14:30-16:00, Session Room 1
- “Civil Society in the Global Fund: Full Participation and Investing in High-Impact Interventions” on Thursday, 26 July 18:30-20:30, Community Dialogue Space
- “Strategic Investment: Using Resources Efficiently and Effectively to Achieve Better Results for Money” on Thursday, 26 July 18:30-20:30, Mini Room 4
In addition, the Global Fund will have a booth in the Exhibition Center (Booth #76) and will be participating in other high-level sessions. The Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) is also hosting a Networking Zone in the Global Village, where Global Fund-related sessions will be held. This includes a “Meet the Global Fund Board Leadership Session” on Thursday 26 July between 11h00-12h30, and other daily informal Q&As with Global Fund staff members. For more information on these sessions please visit the Global Fund IAS2012 page.
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