Speaker joins GFAN Asia-Pacific in regional consultations | April 18 2016
From its inception to date, GFAN Asia-Pacific has been pivotal in supporting the development and strengthening of HIV, TB and malaria regional advocacy efforts, and influencing the new Global Fund Strategy. As a result of the consultation, GFAN AP also hopes to solicit clearer direction and build towards a more holistic and focused movement to support the broader GFAN network – either through targeting donor countries to increase its funding towards the Global Fund, and/or increasing advocacy efforts in Global Fund implementing countries on increasing domestic financing towards HIV, TB and malaria programming.
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GFAN Asia-Pacific, the Communities Delegation to the Global Fund Board and APCASO organized a “Communities & Civil Society Strategizing Consultation on the Global Fund 5th Replenishment and Pre-HLM-Pacific Communities and Civil Society Caucus” in Bangkok, Thailand from 6-7 April 2016.
Our speaker, Louie Zepeda-Teng was invited to share her perspectives at these meetings as a tuberculosis advocate with the attendees.
This was my first opportunity to work with GFAN Asia-Pacific and to be introduced to situations from almost all of the countries in the region. As with other meetings I attend, I noticed there was a lack of voices representing tuberculosis-affected patients, but this is because the countries in the region have minimal coverage from Global Fund grants for TB. But what we all share is fear of the possibility of the Global Fund leaving our countries as they transition to middle income country classification, so there is an urgency to act fast.
We worked in groups to identify key dates for the next two years to see what where we can do local and regional activities before the replenishment and to move forward domestic financing. There was good sharing of information, and we all believe that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can play a big part in promoting health investments in our countries.
We also worked in groups according to disease advocacy. I was able to help out in the effective strategy regarding community mobilization in my country, the Philippines using the example of the bottoms-up budgeting approach we used in my disability federation to influence city financing. Due to these grassroots efforts annual allotments have started and we hope this will affect the national government’s allocations as well.
Efforts like this to bring together regional advocates are vital to monitor and keep checks on the implementation of Global Fund grants. Civil society has to be involved and has to be awakened with the truth that the change will only happen if we take a stand.