COVID-19 Response: Technical Guidance
09 April 2020
Technical guidance is rapidly being developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; its relationship to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria; and the implications for Global Fund grants.
As part of the response to COVID-19, the Global Fund is sharing new country guidance that the Secretariat prepared for internal staff based on discussions with the World Health Organization and partners. Global Fund investments and advice to Principal Recipients and implementers strictly follow World Health Organization guidelines.
This guidance takes the form of information notes and key messages.
These information notes, future information notes, and links to guidance from partners are listed on our COVID-19 Technical Guidance page.
In early April, these key messages were shared as guidance to countries to operationalize World Health Organization guidelines, adapting them to COVID-19 and country-specific contexts:
- HIV investments should protect continuation of essential HIV services, focusing on treatment and prevention.
- COVID-19 response should be in line with WHO guidance and the country-specific situation.
- Swift service adaptation and the increase of resources to civil society and communities to boost their capacity is encouraged.
- Support multi-months dispensing of ARVs to ensure people on treatment have the drugs they need while reducing the frequency of visits to health facilities. Include important consumables for prevention and treatment, such as condoms, ARVs for PrEP, methadone/buprenorphine for opioid substitution therapy, in adapted procurement plans. Support is available from regional health product management managers, Supply Operations and HIV country focal points.
- TB investments should protect continuation of essential TB services, focusing on treatment, case finding and prevention.
- Those living with TB are expected to be disproportionately impacted, as both TB and COVID-19 are respiratory conditions.
- Preliminary reports from countries affected by COVID-19 have shown a sharp decline of TB notification and quality of services.
- Following FDA approval of COVID-19 testing (Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2) using GeneXpert machines used in TB programs, the Global Fund is having discussions with the manufacturer and other stakeholders.
- TB services can be impacted in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and at the health systems level.
- Malaria control and elimination activities must continue, with modifications where appropriate, to avoid an upsurge in morbidity, mortality and further stress on health systems.
- The WHO urges countries to continue malaria services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Partners continue to develop guidance on how to conduct LLIN campaigns as safe as possible given the current context.
- Our information note covers case management, prevention, distribution, IPTp, communication, monitoring and evaluation and cross-cutting considerations.
Resilient and sustainable systems for health
- Balance the demands of the acute response to COVID-19 with the maintenance of essential health service delivery, including for HIV, TB and malaria.
- Ensure decentralized and flexible financing so health facilities can respond more effectively to the local context.
- Strengthen laboratory support systems as diagnostic testing is critical for tracking the virus, understanding epidemiology, informing case management and suppressing transmission.
- Govern, equip, train, motivate and maintain the health workforce, with particular attention to community health workers.
- Strengthen community systems to allow for effective communication, case detection and management, as well as establishing trust in health system.