14 October 2015
MBABANE, Swaziland – Swaziland and the Global Fund deepened their partnership with the signing of three grants totaling more than US$66 million, to expand prevention and treatment for HIV and tuberculosis.
The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many sources and partners, represented at the signing ceremony today by the United States and the European Union, as well as technical partners from UNAIDS and WHO.
The new grants will go to government and civil society implementers selected through a vibrant country dialogue. The HIV grants will support treatment for people living with HIV as well prevention of new infections among key populations and vulnerable groups, including young women and girls.
The TB grant will accelerate the response toward TB/HIV co-infection and concentrate on treatment and prevention of key populations affected by tuberculosis. Swaziland is a high disease-burden country, with 26 percent HIV prevalence – one of the highest in the world, as well as a high TB burden.
The Prime Minister of Swaziland, Dr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, applauded the signing of the grants saying “the partnership between the Global Fund and His Majesty’s Government presents a great opportunity to change the trajectory of AIDS and tuberculosis in Swaziland. It also marks a new era of ending AIDS in line with Vision 2022.”
Senator Sibongile Ndlela-Simelane, Swaziland’s Minister of Health, welcomed the new grants saying her “ministry is very excited about the partnership between Swaziland and the Global Fund. The signing of the grants is an important step forward towards achieving the recently established Sustainable Development Goals. We will be able to deliver more comprehensive and integrated health services which will have life changing impacts.”
The Kingdom of Swaziland has shown a strong determination to end epidemics in the country with significant domestic investments in health. For instance, the country has committed to investing heavily in the purchase of antiretroviral medicines for its own people.
“Swaziland has demonstrated strong leadership in increasing domestic finances to health,” said Cynthia Mwase, the Head of Africa and Middle East Department at the Global Fund. “Vigorous investments by the government and international partners are bending the curve of the epidemics in the country.”
Zelda Nhlabatsi, the Executive Director of Family Life Association of Swaziland and Chair of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), the group that coordinates Global Fund grants in the country, said the country was ready to work hard to make the grants work for the people affected by HIV and TB in Swaziland. “The CCM looks forward to successful implementation of the grants,” she said.
Swaziland and global health partners are working on innovative approaches to address high incidence rates among adolescent girls. Included in the grants signed today are investments in comprehensive and innovative prevention approaches for adolescent girls. The grants will complement other initiatives such as DREAMS and All In!, which are supported by other global health partners including PEPFAR, UNAIDS and UNICEF. The Global Fund partnership recognizes that the health of these people depends upon a holistic approach that includes providing equal opportunity to education and empowerment.