Regional Platform COVID Alert System

The Regional Platforms for Communication and Coordination are engaged in assisting the Global Fund to identify COVID-related risks, opportunities, disruptions, and innovations, specific to Global Fund-supported programs.

A systemized and regularized alert tool was developed for this purpose. Recognizing that in-country stakeholders already face many challenges and are overstretched at this time, the tool is designed to be as light as possible with the focus on critical-to-know information.

The key objectives of the monitoring approach are to:

  • Trigger certain actions by the Global Fund’s CRG Department, Global Fund Country Teams, other technical partners, etc. (depending on the issue);
  • Serve as an early warning system for the Global Fund to indicate things may be going off track so that stronger actions can be taken;
  • Identify innovative and successful community-led solutions in a timely manner, sharing these so that other countries may benefit from the ideas;
  • Allow the Global Fund to compare trends over time and across countries and regions;
  • Reduce the need for ad-hoc requests for information from the Global Fund; and
  • Provide communities with a formal communication channel to report the issues/innovations they are facing with HIV, TB and malaria programs amid the COVID pandemic

EECA Regional Platform has already received through this system an information from civil society representatives on a situation in a number of EECA countries and has provided the Global Fund with it.

If you are aware about any COVID-related issues which have impacted the work of the Global Fund supported HIV and TB programs in your country, please access the tool and report, following this link>>>.

 

UNAIDS calls for greater urgency as global gains slow and countries show mixed results towards 2020 HIV targets

Taken from a UNAIDS press release

The pace of progress in reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to treatment and ending AIDS-related deaths is slowing down according to a new report released on 16 July 2018 by UNAIDS. UNAIDS’ Global AIDS Update, Communities at the centre, shows a mixed picture, with some countries making impressive gains while others are experiencing rises in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths

We urgently need increased political leadership to end AIDS,” said Gunilla Carlsson, UNAIDS Executive Director, a.i., “This starts with investing adequately and smartly and by looking at what’s making some countries so successful. Ending AIDS is possible if we focus on people, not diseases, create road maps for the people and locations being left behind, and take a human rights-based approach to reach people most affected by HIV.”

The report shows that key populations and their sexual partners now account for more than half (54%) of new HIV infections globally. In 2018, key populations – including people who inject drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and prisoners – accounted for around 95% of new HIV infections in eastern Europe and central Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa.

However, the report also shows that less than 50% of key populations were reached with combination HIV prevention services in more than half of the countries that reported. This highlights that key populations are still being marginalized and being left behind in the response to HIV.

Globally, around 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2018, a 16% decline since 2010, driven mostly by steady progress across most of eastern and southern Africa. South Africa, for example, has made huge advances and has successfully reduced new HIV infections by more than 40% and AIDS-related deaths by around 40% since 2010.

However, there is still a long way to go in eastern and southern Africa, the region most affected by HIV, and there have been worrying increases in new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (29%), in the Middle East and North Africa (10%) and in Latin America (7%).

Disconcertingly, the report shows that the gap between resource needs and resource availability is widening. For the first time, the global resources available for the AIDS response declined significantly, by nearly US$ 1 billion, as donors disbursed less and domestic investments did not grow fast enough to compensate for inflation. In 2018, US$ 19 billion (in constant 2016 dollars) was available for the AIDS response, US$ 7.2 billion short of the estimated US$ 26.2 billion needed by 2020.

To continue progress towards ending AIDS, UNAIDS urges all partners to step up action and invest in the response, including by fully funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with at least US$ 14 billion at its replenishment in October and through increasing bilateral and domestic funding for HIV.

Progress is continuing towards the 90–90–90 targets. Some 79% of people living with HIV knew their HIV status in 2018, 78% who knew their HIV status were accessing treatment and 86% of people living with HIV who were accessing treatment were virally suppressed, keeping them alive and well and preventing transmission of the virus.

Communities at the centre shows however that progress towards the 90–90–90 targets varies greatly by region and by country. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia for example, 72% of people living with HIV knew their HIV status in 2018, but just 53% of the people who knew their HIV status had access to treatment.

AIDS-related deaths continue to decline as access to treatment continues to expand and more progress is made in improving the delivery of HIV/tuberculosis services. Since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 33%, to 770 000 in 2018.

Progress varies across regions. Global declines in AIDS-related deaths have largely been driven by progress in eastern and southern Africa. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia however, AIDS-related deaths have risen by 5% and in the Middle East and North Africa by 9% since 2010.

Communities at the centre shows that the full range of options available to prevent new HIV infections are not being used for optimal impact. For example, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), medicine to prevent HIV, was only being used by an estimated 300 000 people in 2018, 130 000 of whom were in the United States of America. In Kenya, one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to roll out PrEP as a national programme in the public sector, around 30 000 people accessed the preventative medicines in 2018.

The report shows that although harm reduction is a clear solution for people who inject drugs, change has been slow. People who inject drugs accounted for 41% of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and 27% of new HIV infections in the Middle East and North Africa, both regions that are lacking adequate harm reduction programmes.

Gains have been made against HIV-related stigma and discrimination in many countries but discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV remain extremely high. There is an urgency to tackle the underlying structural drivers of inequalities and barriers to HIV prevention and treatment, especially with regard to harmful social norms and laws, stigma and discrimination and gender-based violence.

Criminal laws, aggressive law enforcement, harassment and violence continue to push key populations to the margins of society and deny them access to basic health and social services. Discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV remain extremely high in far too many countries. Across 26 countries, more than half of respondents expressed discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV.

The report highlights how communities are central to ending AIDS. Across all sectors of the AIDS response, community empowerment and ownership has resulted in a greater uptake of HIV prevention and treatment services, a reduction in stigma and discrimination and the protection of human rights. However, insufficient funding for community-led responses and negative policy environments impede these successes reaching full scale and generating maximum impact.

UNAIDS urges countries to live up to the commitment made in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS for community-led service delivery to be expanded to cover at least 30% of all service delivery by 2030. Adequate investments must be made in building the capacity of civil society organizations to deliver non-discriminatory, human rights-based, people-centred HIV prevention and treatment services in the communities most affected by HIV.

To read full report follow this link>>>

DPNSEE have made an excerpt with the country data for 10 countries of the region, which you can download following this link>>>

New publication from Eurasian Harm Reduction Association

EHRAThe Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) presented its new publication “Getting to know the Civil Society and Eastern Europe and Central Asia Delegations to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. An Information note for Eastern Europe and Central Asia”. The publication is developed within the project of the EECA Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination.

This Information Note is an easy-to-use document which allows for greater understanding of the work and role of the Communities, Developed Country NGO, Developing Country NGOs and the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) Delegations to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The EECA Delegation is dedicated to the causes and concerns of the region, both from a public sector and civil society perspective. The other three Delegations have specific mandates to bring to the Board the issues of civil society and all the communities of persons living with, and affected by, the three diseases in those countries eligible for Global Fund support.

Getting to know the Civil Society and Eastern Europe and Central Asia Delegations to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Whilst there are four distinct Delegations, these Global Fund Board representatives have similar practices for their internal functioning and in consulting with civil society and communities as well as established opportunities to engage with them. This document provides information concerning these key practices and opportunities. The communities and civil society organizations (CSO’s) in the EECA region will be able to use this document to better plan and coordinate their advocacy efforts and engage with their representatives to the Fund at the most opportune times and in strategic ways.

The Global Fund is the world’s largest financing organization for HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria prevention, treatment, care and support programs. The Fund’s purpose is to attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) established by the United Nations. Since its founding in 2002, the Global Fund’s investments in the EECA region have contributed to considerable progress in combating three diseases as well as in developing enabling environments and the strengthening of health and community systems, making the Global Fund the major donor to support the HIV and TB response in the EECA region.

To read or download this publication follow this link>>>>

The Global Fund awarded only one HIV multi-country project

In December 2017, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria called for proposals from qualified organizations to provide programming for the HIV strategic priority area “Sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region” under the Multicountry catalytic funding modality for the 2017-2019 Allocation Period. Five proposals were submitted. The Global Fund announded at the AIDS 2018 Conference last week that all of them were not of excellent quality and that only one will be supported. Here is the information about which one was awarded.

New levers of change in Eastern Europe and Central Asia:
Global Fund awarded multi-country project to the Alliance led regional consortium

On July 31, 2018, the Global Fund announced its decision on the approval HIV multi-country project ‘Sustainability of services for key populations in EECA region’ submitted by consortium of regional organizations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) – Alliance for Public Health, All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH 100% Life, Central Asian PLWHA Association and Eurasian Key Populations Health Network (EKHN), together with technical partners and TB People. The proposal incorporated contributions from Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

The Global Fund informed that the application from Alliance-led regional consortium was approved in full amount with the total budget over $ 10.5 million for three years (2019-2021).

The main objective of this project is to ensure the sustainability of services for key populations and to substantially improve the HIV cascade in the key countries of the EECA region.

“EECA is nearly the only region globally with rising HIV infections. We have very ambitious targets: to stop this dangerous trend and to make services for key populations accessible and sustainable in our region. We are ready to cooperate and join efforts with all partners to make national funding for key populations a reality!’, – stated Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director of Alliance for Public Health.

“Nine countries with high levels of HIV in the region will be able to use technologies and solutions that have already proven effective. We, as the largest patient organization, are ready to partner with our colleagues to provide access to treatment, services and resources for all key populations and patients,” – said Dmitry Sherembey, Head of Coordination Council, 100% Life.

Although the main focus of the project is HIV, the consortium of regional organizations will be working closely with the multi-country TB project which will be implemented by a consortium led by PAS Center (Moldova) in 2019-2021 with the support of the Global Fund.

This is the joint victory of national, regional and international partners and the consortium is looking forward to implementing the work together.

DPNSEE congratulates the Consortium and wishes them success in implementing the project.

EECA Civil Society Meeting

Preparing for the regional meeting “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems”, civil society organisations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia met on 11 December in Tallinn. Aim of the meeting was to consolidate and build opportunities for cooperation in advocacy efforts of civil society representatives during and after the meeting.

The pre-meeting gathered 14 representatives from civil society and community organisations mainly from South East European countries and regional community networks. Unfortunately because of heavy snow in the departure airports and delayed flights a lot of participants could not join.

There were two main issues of the meeting which of great importance for civil society and communities: transitioning of services to domestic funding and integration of it into the health and social care system.

The structure of the outcome document was presented and discussed. Next week key points from the document could be used for the plenary meeting of the Civil Society Forum of HIV, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis.

Regional Conference “Harm Reduction in the New Environment”

In Vilnius, Lithuania on April 4-6, the First Regional Harm Reduction Conference for Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA), hosted by the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), brings together 400 participants from 45 countries.

The main issues and tasks set forth for the participants of the Regional Conference “Harm Reduction in the New Environment” are reflected in the themes of the three days of the conference:

Day 1 – Funding of harm reduction in the new environment;

Day 2 – The role of harm reduction in social and medical care for people who use drugs;

Day 3 – Harm reduction – the way to achieve an effective and human rights-based drug policy.

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe and the present member organisation participated in the plenary sessions and the experiences of our member organisations Prevent from Serbia and PROI from Bosnia and Herzegovina were presented during the workshop: “Is there life for harm reduction programs in the region without financial support from external donors?”. The work of Juventas [K1] from Montenegro was also presented at the workshop “Mechanisms and models of governmental funding of harm reduction services”.

The EHRN conference is an excellent opportunity for exchange and building partnerships. So far, the representatives of the Network held discussions with Gyongyver Jakab, Portfolio Manager, S&T Focal Point for Balkan Countries, the Global Fund, Michel Kazatchkine, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Vinay Saldanha, Director of the Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Jindrich Voboril, National Anti-Drug Coordinator, Director of the Secretariat of the Government Council for Anti-Drug Policy Coordination, Czech Republic Yuliya Georgieva, Chair of the Centre for Human Policy, Bulgaria, Kirsten Horsburgh, National Naloxone Coordinator, Scotland regarding future cooperation and support.