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Global Fund initiative to boost RP’s fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria

BIHC-DOH Director Maylene Beltran tackles Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria

In a scientific conference during the 14th National Institutes of Health (NIH) anniversary, Director Maylene M. Beltran of the Bureau of International Health Cooperation of the Department of Health (BIHC-DOH) and the Executive Secretary of the Philippine Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM) emphasized the importance of Global Fund (GF) initiative for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) to support the Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (KP) program of the Aquino administration.

“Where does GF fit into our national health goal Kalusugan Pangkalahatan? Among the health-related goals of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) incorporated to KP is to improve maternal and child health and to halt the spread of communicable diseases like AIDS, TB and Malaria,” said Ms. Beltran.

In the 2010 United Nations programme report on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Ms. Beltran cited that the Philippines is one of only seven countries with 25% increase in HIV cases from 2001-2009 and an average of six (6) new HIV cases per day or one (1) in every four (4) hours is reported in the country. In 2011, 64% of registered HIV cases came from National Capital Region (54%).

The DOH National AIDS and STI Prevention and Control Program (NASPCP) covers the Most-at-Risk Populations (MARPS) which include the freelance sex workers (FSW), men having sex with men (MSM), male sex workers (MSW), and persons who inject drugs (PWID), with a total MARPS of 177,597.

She added that HIV transmission among persons who inject drugs (PWIDs) is rapidly increasing from just seven reported cases in the last 22 years (1984-2006) to 147 cases in 2010 alone.

Ms. Beltran stressed, “Nationwide, we need an estimated total investment of 18.4 billion pesos for 2011-2016. In a year, we need 1.6 billion just to be able to address the MARPS.”

Given these scenario, Ms. Beltran explained how GFATM would be a great help in addressing the country’s concerns on AIDS, TB and Malaria.

The Global Fund is a unique global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.  It is a financial mechanism to provide funds to critical interventions against the three diseases.

The Philippines is one of the 20 countries in East Asia and the Pacific availing of the global fund opportunity.

GFATM promotes partnership among stakeholders through the Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM). These country-level multi-stakeholder partnerships develop and submit grant proposals to the Global Fund based on priority needs at the national level. After grant approval, GF oversee progress during implementation.

CCM include representatives from both the public and private sectors, including governments, multilateral or bilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, private businesses and people living with the diseases.

Ms. Beltran reported that in the Philippines, there are three principal recipients (PR) of the GF: The Pilipinas Shell Foundation – PR for Malaria grant; DOH – PR for HIV grant, and Philippine Business for Social Progress – PR for TB grant.