18 May 2004
Geneva, Switzerland - Jamaica will be the first country to sign a grant agreement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that accesses prices for drugs and diagnostic tests negotiated by the Clinton Foundation.
The Grant Agreement is worth US$ 7.5 million over its first two-year phase for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and was signed in Geneva late Monday by the Minister of Health, the Honourable John Junor, along with Ambassador Ransford Smith, from the Jamaican Mission.
“In the last 15 years our program has been driven by education and prevention, and in the last two years by treatment,” said Dr Yitades Gebre, Executive Director of the National AIDS Programme, speaking from Kingston, Jamaica. “But we were unable to scale up necessary life-saving interventions due to resource constraints. With this grant we can take our response to a much higher level of saving lives.”
As provided for under the Clinton Foundation agreements with its suppliers, beneficiaries of Global Fund and World Bank grants can access prices that have been negotiated by the Clinton Foundation with five manufacturers of antiretroviral treatments (ARVs) and five manufacturers of HIV/AIDS diagnostic tests. These prices were announced originally in October 2003 and January 2004, and to date they have been available to the 16 countries in the Caribbean and Africa where the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative is active.
The drugs in these agreements include individual formulations and two- and three-drug fixed dose combinations which have been pre-qualified by the World Health Organization to assure quality and efficacy.
There were an estimated 22,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica at the end of 2002, of whom approximately 6,000 require ARV treatment. An estimated 500 people living with the virus are currently receiving ARV therapy, primarily in the private sector, and to a very limited extent in the public sector. The program aims to supply ARV treatment to 2,000 people during the first two years, and universal coverage by the end of the second three-year phase of the grant.
Jamaica is home to the third largest population of people in the Caribbean living with the virus, after Haiti and the Dominican Republic, who have also been awarded Global Fund grants for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention.
Other activities funded by Jamaica’s program, which was engineered in collaboration with the World Bank, will target specific communities such as youth, commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men, underpinned by a drive to establish a national HIV/AIDS policy that reduces stigma and discrimination throughout society.