The Global Fund partnership has invested US$9.2 billion – one third of total resources –in treating and preventing AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and to building more resilient and sustainable systems for health in the Indo-Pacific.
Global Fund-supported programs have saved 8.3 million lives in the region, supporting 3.2 million people to access antiretroviral therapy for HIV, 8.2 million TB treatments and the distribution of 142 million mosquito nets.
The region has made serious strides towards a malaria-free future. Between 2000 and 2015 malaria deaths plunged from 7,842 per year to 1,098. Overall malaria cases decreased by 75 percent in 14 countries. The Global Fund provides 86 percent of the external financial support necessary for malaria control in the region.
Despite this progress, approximately 1.5 billion people remain at risk of malaria in the Asia-Pacific. New challenges are emerging such as resistance to artemisinin - the world’s most effective malaria medicine. The Global Fund’s Regional Artemisinin Initiative brings together the health ministries of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam to expand the roll-out of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and case management in areas where there is drug resistance. Surveillance systems are expanding and efforts are underway to halt the marketing of substandard antimalarial drugs.
Thet Thet Mar's four-year-old boy, Myo, had a high grade fever, vomiting and diarrhea. At Kawthaung District Hospital a rapid diagnostic test came back negative: no malaria, and no malaria medicine. Prescription of treatment without diagnosis is a driver of drug-resistant malaria. The Regional Artemisinin Initiative is tackling the problem.
Myanmar has made great impact against malaria, but the mission is not complete. A committed, on-the-ground partnership is working to lift the burden imposed by the mosquito-borne parasite.
Asia and the Pacific had five million people living with HIV in 2014, the second largest population outside sub-Saharan Africa. Across the region, HIV is a concentrated epidemic. Prevalence rates are significantly higher for certain key populations, such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs.
Different needs in different communities require a differentiated approach, and Global Fund support is increasingly channeled to programs that directly reach these populations. In Papua New Guinea, where gender-based violence is driving HIV infection for women and girls, the Global Fund and partners integrated clinical and psychosocial services for survivors of sexual violence into HIV programming.
In Bangkok’s Soi Cowboy district a local group, Swing, strives to reach about 1,000 18-25 year old women who work in local bars with condoms, sexual education and HIV tests. Many have migrated from rural communities, and their knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases is low. In 2014, four percent of the women tested were HIV positive.
South East Asia and the Western Pacific met the Millennium Development Goal of halving TB prevalence and mortality by 2015. However, TB remains a deadly threat and ranks alongside HIV as the world’s deadliest infectious disease. In 2014, TB killed 613,000 people in the region, including 66,900 HIV-positive people.
Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a growing health threat, increasing the cost, complexity and length of treatment. Globally, 3.3 percent of new TB cases are MDR-TB, and the majority are in Asia. The Global Fund provides most financing for MDR-TB and has supported treatment for 210,000 cases, mostly in Asia and the Pacific.
In the Indo-Pacific region, Global Fund programs have supported 8.2 million people with TB treatments, working with partners to expand access to TB treatment and care. In Pakistan, for example, the Global Fund works with two private sector companies to increase coverage.
Better data collected in the 2015 prevalence survey in Indonesia show that while rates of TB are higher than previously estimated, incidence and mortality rates are declining steadily. A new medicine, bedaquiline, treats patients with MDR-TB with fewer side effects.
Published 22 February 2016