25 October 2004
Geneva, Switzerland – The Global Fund today signed an agreement of collaboration with the Public-Interest Grouping “Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière En Réseau” (ESTHER), an eight-country initiative to strengthen the capacities of developing countries to facilitate access to sustainable high quality treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS through partnerships with governments, health structures and NGOs in industrialized countries.
ESTHER, led by the former French health minister and founder of Médecins Sans Frontieres, Bernhard Kouchner, supports hospitals and health structures in developing countries by twinning them with hospitals and other health institutions in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain.
ESTHER’s aim is to strengthen developing country health sector capabilities and to set up quality health centers offering people with HIV/AIDS medical, biological and psycho-social treatment and follow-up from the hospital into the community. ESTHER so far operates in 18 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Global Fund will work closely with ESTHER and will facilitate technical expertise to Global Fund-financed programs through ESTHER. Developing country health institutions working with ESTHER will also be encouraged to apply for Global Fund grants to fund its activities. The Global Fund will participate in a close dialogue and coordination efforts with ESTHER and their mutual other partners, such as the World Health Organisation, UNAIDS, UNDP, the World Bank and the European Union.
The Global Fund is a unique global public-private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents a new approach to international health financing. The Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts dealing with the three diseases. The Global Fund has so far committed US $3 billion to over 300 programs in 128 countries.
Apart from a high standard of technical quality, the Global Fund attaches no conditions to any of its grants. It is not an implementing agency, instead relying on local ownership and planning to ensure that new resources are directed to programs on the frontline of this global effort to reach those most in need. Its performance-based approach to grant-making is designed to ensure that funds are used efficiently and create real change for people and communities. All programs are monitored by independent organizations contracted by the Global Fund to ensure that its funding is having an impact in the fight against the three pandemics.