Combating AIDS, TB, Malaria and COVID-19…
Pres. Bio launches $157m Global fund grant
Sierra Leone, Freetown: With over 40 percent of outpatient mortality rate due to malaria, President Julius Maada Bio on Wednesday 8th September 2021 launched the Global fund grant of US$157m ($157, 196,218) to combat AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and COVID-19, at State House.
This support is also towards strengthening the resilience and sustainable systems for health in the country.
According to the Global fund Executive Director, Peter Sands, their partnership is designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, TB and Malaria epidemic, disclosing that the fund was created in 2002 to support programs run by local experts including governments, civil society, technical agencies, private sector and people affected by the diseases.
“Since 2003, the Global Fund has disbursed over $347m in Sierra Leone towards the fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria,” he disclosed whiles addressing the audience through Zoom, pointing out that significant results have been achieved through these funds over the years.
He said that at the end of 2020 some 3.3 million Sierra Leoneans tested positive for malaria but 93 percent of the malaria cases received anti-malaria treatment. Also at the end of 2020 some 50 percent of people living with HIV were on life saving anti-retroviral therapy which corresponds to 38,000 HIV positive people.
“At the end of 2020 Sierra Leone reported 16,000 cases of Tuberculosis which are on treatment,” he said, explaining that these successes were made possible not just by financing projects for the three diseases but also through community intervention among others.
The Global Fund investment will allow Sierra Leone to achieve its target in distributing more bed nets to the people as part of the 2023 national bed net campaign against malaria and also increase the number of Sierra Leoneans testing for malaria from 3.3 million in 2020 to more than 6 million.
This according to him will also increase the number of people living with HIV on life saving anti-retroviral from 50 to 75 percent, which means 62,000 HIV positive Sierra Leoneans will be able to live healthy and productive lives.
Officially launching the project, President Bio noted that the Global Fund has contributed a very significant share of healthcare financing, disclosing that their support constitutes about 90% of the HIV program budget, and over 70% of the TB and malaria programs.
“We have argued throughout that our socio-economic indicators will be depressing, and our national development will be limited, if we do not have a healthy population and a well resourced and functioning national healthcare delivery system,” he said, adding that healthcare is a key booster among our human capital development priorities as it aligns with imperatives in our Medium-Term National Development Plan and with the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to President Bio, in spite of disruptions occasioned by COVID-19, they believe it is possible to get back on track in their fight against the burdens of HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria, adding that getting back on track requires significant resource mobilisation.
“For us, the Global Fund has been the largest investor in grants to build resilient and sustainable health systems in our country. Your investments in tools, systems, health workers, and laboratory resources are underpinning our COVID-19 responses and our responses to other disease burdens in our country,” he maintained.
On the issue of reimbursement to the Global Fund for funds declared as ineligible during the tenure of the past Government, President Bio assured Global Fund that the negotiated commitment plan to pay an initial 40% in 2021 has been authorised, and will be strictly adhered to, assuring that the full amount will be paid shortly.
He disclosed that the Global Fund has approved the New Funding Model 3 amounting to $128m for the fight against Malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS, and to strengthen the Health Systems in Sierra Leone for the period retroactive 1st July 2021 to 30th June 2024 in the form of a grant.
“I am also pleased to further inform you that the Government of Sierra Leone has committed additional funding of $ 9,465,000 as counterpart funding to fight HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and Health system strengthening for the period spanning financial year 2021-2024,” he said, disclosing that also the Global Fund in collaboration with Expertise France has also approved COVID -19 Funding of $31m to respond to and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the progress made in the fight against the three diseases in Sierra Leone for the period retroactive 1st July 2021 to 31st December 2023.
President Bio further disclosed that the Ministry of Health and the Catholic Relief Service have been appointed as the principal recipients to administer these funds as they will identify and work with sub-recipients and other in-country partners including community-based organizations.
“These principal recipients will also work with the central coordinating Unit, NaCOVERC, for the implementation of the COVID-19 funds,” he assured.
The Minister of Health, Dr Austin Demby, assured the donor partner of his Ministry’s determination to intensify their surveillance and epidemiology effort to better understand the volume of HIV infection in the country, reduce stigma and to intensify their effort towards achieving the 959595 goals and epidemic control of HIV.
According to him, Malaria remains a very stubborn adversary, which means they need to redouble their efforts as they continue to work with their global and domestic partners in their quest to control malaria, which can be possible when they have a health system that can provide the support required.
The Chairman of the Country Coordinating Mechanism, Mohamed B. Jalloh, said the three diseases remain major contributing factors to the high disease burden in the country, explaining that Sierra Leone will not be able to make significant reduction in its fight against maternal and child mortality rate if they do not address the scourges of malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS. AMK/9/9/2021
By [email protected]