Malawi celebrates 20 years of Global Fund

Malawi is this year joining other countries in the Sub Saharan Africa region to celebrate 20 years of the commitment by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Founded in 2002, the Global Fund—as it is usually referred to—is an international financing and partnership organization which aims at attracting, leveraging and investing additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and to strengthen health systems around the world. The celebrations to mark the 20 years in Malawi were announced during a press briefing presided over by Secretary for Health, Dr Charles Mwansambo, at the Ministry of Health headquarters at Capital Hill, Lilongwe, on Friday, 30th July 2021. The press briefing was attended physically by Health and Rights Education Programme (HREP) Executive Director, Maziko Matemba, who represented Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) spearheading the celebrations, the Acting Chief Executive Officer for National AIDS Commission (NAC), Dr Andrew Gonani, officials from the Ministry of Health and community representatives from Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS, National Association of Young People Living with HIV and PARADISO TB Patients Trust. It was attended virtually by the Global Fund Geneva representative, the Second Vice Chairperson of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism, Mr Nuha Ceesay, who is also UNAIDS Country Director, a representative of the regional CSOs, Rosemary Mbulu, as well as representatives from Zambia, who received an electronic torch from Malawi as part of the celebrations. Speaking during the event, Dr Mwansambo said the Global Fund has been supporting the Government of Malawi through grant funding since 2003. “The funding has been coming through Principal Recipients (PRs) and various organizations such as National AIDS Commission, Ministry of Health, Action Aid Malawi and World Vision Malawi have been and are PRs,” he said. He added that the Global Fund provides 21% of all international financing for HIV programmes; 73% of all international financing for Tuberculosis as well as 56% of all international financing for Malaria programmes. Recently, the Global Fund is also supporting countries in the COVID-19 response for testing and equipment “Globally, 38 million lives have been saved over these 20 years and in particular, the Global Fund has reduced AIDS-related deaths by 61 percent. Without such initiatives as prevention and treatment, such deaths would have increased by 176% in the same period. It has reduced TB deaths by 25% and in the absence of TB control measures by the Global Fund, deaths would have increased by 118% and deaths from Malaria have dropped by 46% and had there been no Global Fund-initiated malaria control measures, such deaths would have increased by 65% in the same period,” added Mwansambo. Dr Gonani thanked the CSOs for appointing NAC to coordinate the celebrations and added that Malawi is currently in the era of pragmatic optimism with the dream of ending HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. Seeking to achieve the 95:95:95 fast track HIV treatment targets by 2025, Malawi’s performance currently stands at 96:92:94, which Gonani said is commendable as the country is in the first of the five years of implementing its new HIV strategic plan. Matemba thanked Global Fund for the support to Malawi, stressing that in the past 20 years Malawi has received over $1.6 billion from Global Fund.

Posted on Aug 6, 2021 Written By Karen Msiska