Just before the Partnership Forum in Addis Ababa last week, more than 100 people from 46 implementing countries in Africa met to discuss how to strengthen their engagement on the Global Fund Board and contribute to making grants more effective in efforts to end HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics. The meeting focused on contributing to the strategy of the Global Fund, and making sure that the priorities, needs, obligations and contributions of African nations toward solving health problems are fully involved.
From left to right: Prof. Vinand Nantulya, Dr. Anita Asiimwe, and Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi during a panel.
Many participants at the meeting of the Africa Constituencies Bureau of the Global Fund shared perspectives and lessons learned over the past year in the process of application for funding and during implementation. They talked about finding ways to strengthen health systems and to boost domestic financing for health. They discussed the importance of placing women and girls at the center of health efforts, and the need for flexibility and for tailoring programs to specific circumstances including challenging operating environments.
“We worked together,” said Assetina Singo-Tokofai, the coordinator of National Aids and STIs Program in the Ministry of Health in Togo. “There was no Anglophone Africa or Francophone Africa, we were one Africa Group.” She said the goal of improving the effectiveness of the two African constituencies on the Global Fund Board – West & Central Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa – is to increase overall impact on people affected by the diseases in the region.
One step toward achieving better impact is the establishment of an Africa Constituencies Bureau – an entity to improve the effectiveness of Board members who represent the Africa constituency at the Global Fund Board. With a focus on better service for the people affected by the diseases in the region, the Africa Bureau will work as a technical advisory unit for members of Board representing the Africa constituencies.
Anita Asiimwe, the Board member for Eastern and Southern Africa, said the Africa Bureau is a culmination of years of hard work aimed at boosting the impact of investments made by the Global Fund partnership. Nele Djalo, the President of the Country Coordinating Mechanism in Niger, said the bureau will provide an opportunity for African countries to engage with the Global Fund more strategically. It will also allow countries to share valuable experience on implementation of health programs.
The global health landscape is constantly changing, and it is sometimes a challenge to keep up-to-date. The complexity of preparing and implementing grants also means proactively working to remove obstacles and bottlenecks. The meeting demonstrated the determination of participants to work together to get it done.
Reposted from the Global Fund News Flash, May 12, 2015.