24 June 2015
BANGKOK, Thailand - Consultations began today among partners in global health, including civil society, nongovernmental organizations and public health experts, seeking input into a new strategy to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics and build resilient and sustainable systems for health.
The Partnership Forum brings together more than 120 people to a two-day gathering to focus on developing the Global Fund's strategy for 2017-2021. The forum is considering recent advances in science and delivery of health services, and at how barriers such as stigma and discrimination can be removed. It also involves private sector partners who are contributing resources towards a sustainable response.
"The Global Fund is a partnership in the truest sense of the word," said Aida Kurtovic, the Vice-Chair of the Global Fund Board. "A strategy to defeat these epidemics will be more powerful and effective if it is built by people living with the three diseases and those who support them."
The Forum will focus closely on building resilient and sustainable systems for health, working in challenging environments and the human rights dimension of the epidemics.
Dr. Suriya Wongkongkathep, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health, and Global Fund Board Member for the South East Asia Constituency, spoke of the importance of sustainable transition in the Global Fund's strategy for 2017-2021.
Dr. Suriya mentioned the example of South East Asia, where many countries are now transitioning to middle-income status, but are home to vulnerable populations experiencing difficulties in accessing health services, particularly key populations, poor people, migrant populations and internally-displaced people.
"Communities know which programs are most suitable to their environment," said David Traynor, who works in the Community, Rights and Gender Department at the Global Fund. "By giving communities a strong voice, we put human rights at the center of our response and make it more effective."
The Bangkok Partnership Forum is one of three events to inform the 2017-2021 strategy. In May, a meeting was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Another Partnership Forum will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September. There will also be further opportunities for input to the new strategy alongside meetings held with WHO, UNAIDS, PMNCH and the StopTB Partnership. The Global Fund has also launched an e-Forum to enable people who cannot make it to these meetings to share their views online.
The current "Global Fund Strategy 2012-2016: Investing for Impact" was developed through a similar participatory process, and has guided the Global Fund to deliver significant results. At the end of 2014, programs supported by the partnership had put 7.3 million people on antiretroviral therapy for HIV, tested and treated 12.3 million people for TB, and distributed 450 million insecticide-treated nets to protect families against malaria.
With the new strategy, the Global Fund will be looking to the future, asking how the partnership can achieve more impact, contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, and accelerate progress for people affected by HIV, TB and malaria.