JIS News

By the end of March this year, Jamaica should know whether it will continue to benefit from assistance through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GTFAM), to continue its campaign to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS in the island.
This will emanate from an assessment to be made by the Fund of the progress made under the National HIV/STI Programme in the effort against HIV/AIDS, at the end of this month.
Speaking at a press briefing held at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston yesterday (January 9), Latin America and the Caribbean Cluster Leader for the Fund, Dr. Wolfgang Munar, said Jamaica has one of the best performing grants in the region.
Dr. Munar said with Jamaica on the verge of completing the first phase, the Global Fund would review the advances made after which a decision would be made as to whether approval would be given for grant assistance for the second phase.
“We are impressed by the progress and the achievements so far in prevention, in testing and in treatment. Clearly, there is a lot more to be done but we are encouraged by what we have seen so far,” he said.
Dr. Munar stressed that it was imperative that efforts in the fight against the disease be sustained.
“It’s not only making it easier to access treatment and improving the lives of those that are suffering, but ensuring that this is a continuous process that will go on even when there is no global fund. The fight has to be continued,” he said.
He said while Jamaica had done well, there could be no complacency and called for renewed vigour in the attempts to stem stigma and discrimination as well as increased effort in the areas of treatment and prevention.
Chairperson of the Board of the Global Fund, Dr. Carol Jacobs, said the delegation was impressed with the performance of the grant. “We knew on paper before we came here that this particular grant has been performing well.
We have been very impressed with some of the best case programmes that we have seen and I am very optimistic that this grant is going to make a very big difference in increasing the depth and the quality of the AIDS programme in Jamaica,” she added.
The high level delegation, which has been in the island since Sunday, January 8, consists of Dr. Jacobs; Professor Richard Feacham, Executive Director of the Fund, and Dr. Munar.
The GTFAM was created to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world’s most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need. As a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities, the Global Fund represents an innovative approach to international health financing.
The Fund has been in operation for four years and serves 130 countries through grant funding. These grants, which are given for five years, are assessed at the end of the first two years of the period.
Importantly, the majority of the indicators put in place by the country have to be met in order to ensure that the remaining three years’ funding is given. So far, the Global Fund in its first phase, has made available US$7.5 million of a possible US$23.3 million, which was approved for Jamaica’s programme.
Caribbean countries have successfully won 18 grants from the Fund, inclusive of 12 for HIV/AIDS, three for Tuberculosis and three for Malaria.