Guest Blog Post from GFAN Africa:
On 8 June 2021, GFAN Africa organized a webinar titled – The Global Fund at 20: An Africa Civil Society Dialogue on the sidelines of the HLM on HIV/AIDS. The webinar marked the launch of a series of activities by GFAN Africa to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Global Fund partnership.
In her remarks, Linda Mafu the Head of Political and Civil Society Advocacy at the Global Fund appreciated the role of civil society in reminding the world about the need for global solidarity for HIV treatment. This led to the creation of the Global Fund. She added that civil society fought for the right to life. She emphasized the 20 years celebration of the Global Fund are a celebration of life, political leadership and partnerships with civil society.
The webinar was held on the sidelines of the high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS and Florence Anam from GNP+ outlined the following civil society asks for the high-level;
- Equitable and equal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for key populations and those in situations of vulnerability
- Elimination of the structural barriers to achieving zero new infections, zero deaths and zero discrimination
- Fully resourced, efficient and sustained HIV response, integrated into systems for health, development, social protection, humanitarian settings and pandemic responses
Hon Daniel Molokele the Member of Parliament for Whange constituency in Zimbabwe renewed the call for a fully funded Global Fund especially at this time when there is donor fatigue and as the seventh replenishment is coming up. “In line with SDG3, it will not be possible to achieve targets in Africa without a fully funded Global Fund hence the need for the partnership to be fully resourced,” he noted. He urged civil society to push for increased domestic resources for health.
“HIV, TB, and Malaria are diseases happening at community level and community engagement is the best approach to fight the three diseases,” noted Olivia Ngou the Executive Director of Impact Sante Afrique. She appreciated that the Global Fund has put civil society and communities at the forefront of its interventions including at the decision making level.
Dr Vuyiseka Dubala-Majola from the Africa Center for HIV and AIDS Management in South Africa revealed that she is one of the 38 million people whose lives have been saved by the Global Fund. She added that in Western Cape Province of South Africa, she was one of the first people to benefit from ARVs free, from the Global Fund in 2004. Noting that Africa has come a long way, she emphasized that there are many more lives to save hence there is need for sustained and rigorous advocacy efforts.
“To world leaders, your efforts and investments in health are bearing fruit and should be sustained,” said Joyce Ouma a GFAN Speaker. She added that the Global Fund has helped her stay alive. She urged for efforts to protect the gains made so far towards defeating HIV, TB and malaria and asked that the world must urgently invest additional resources to defend progress against HIV, TB and malaria, fight COVID-19, and save lives.
The Global Fund has played a critical role in efforts towards ending TB, noted Carol Kachenga from CITAM Plus. She added that she is a beneficiary of the work of the Global Fund, as she expressed disappointment that people still die from TB, a disease that is preventable and treatable. She decried the deadly divide between TB commitments and the reality as she called for urgent action and sustained focus on TB amid COVID-19.