Of the estimated 36.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS globally in 2015, 25.6 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, 1.37 million (65%) of 2.1 million new infections that occurred worldwide in 2015 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Sahara continues to bear the greatest burden of HIV infection. If we want to reverse this trend, there is a critical need to invest and scale up prevention and treatment of HIV.
A preventive HIV vaccine is an essential component of a long-term end to the HIV epidemic. Such a vaccine would teach the immune system to create responses that prevent the virus from establishing infection in the body. No licensed preventive HIV vaccine exists at present. However, there are ongoing efforts at developing a HIV vaccine. More than 30 years has been invested in HIV research efforts. Vaccine research is a long and enduring effort. The HIV vaccine and research development is not different.
An HIV vaccine is both possible and essential. In 2009, a clinical trial known as RV144 achieved proof-of-concept that a preventive HIV vaccine is possible, and, since then, researchers have continued to build on the results of that trial. There are three ongoing researches testing concepts for HIV vaccine development. These researches are taking place in countries in Africa and North America. However, if and when a HIV vaccine is developed, the product will and should be effective for all persons.
This is the goal of all stakeholders working in the field of HIV vaccine development. While we wait for a HIV vaccine, global coverage of HIV treatment, care and existing prevention options needs to continue to increase and expand; and we should witness less of new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS. The tools we have can make significant difference if we ensure they get into the hands of those who need it. These tools are making significant differences in country’s HIV epidemic profile when barriers to their access are addressed.
We need to support access of all persons to any HIV prevention tool appropriate for their use – preexposure prophylaxis, post exposure prophylaxis, STI diagnosis and treatment, male and female condoms, HIV treatment as soon after diagnosis. HIV vaccine development and eventual rollout of a successful vaccine requires sustained financial support. Developing a successful vaccine is not cheap, but an HIV vaccine will pay huge dividends in lives saved. Modeling research estimates that in some parts of the world, an effective HIV vaccine could reduce new annual HIV infections by nearly half in its first 10 years, averting tens of millions of infections. We can’t afford to slow down promising and urgently needed research.
AfNHi 1, recognizes the importance and place of HIV vaccine in the efforts towards ending HIV by 2030. The end of HIV is only feasible with a HIV vaccine. It will take concerted efforts from all partners to make the successful development, testing and rollout of a safe, effective, licensed HIV vaccine accessible. Civil Society has a role to play in leading the charge in this campaign. Funding product development and clinical trials alone is not enough. AfNHi encourages the investment of all stakeholders in the HIV vaccine research and development process NOW.
1 AfNHi is an African-led HIV Prevention Research Advocacy Network, whose vision is Africa Free of New HIV Infections.
The global health landscape is changing. In less than two decades, the world has registered some of the most momentous advances against infectious diseases. Global partnerships against epidemics such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria have galvanized remarkable amount of goodwill and resources that have significantly reduced the burden of these diseases. Those efforts have saved millions of lives globally. A new report by the Brookings shows that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) spurred major accelerations in the fight against child mortality, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Study found that through expansion and acceleration of pre-MDG rates of progress, between 21 and 29 million lives were saved.
Kenyan researchers are working on about eight potential HIV vaccines.None has shown efficacy, but scientists believe they are still potent if delivered efficiently into the body.And so they are not giving up.They have resolved to intensify their work and use other methods that will finally give the desired results.“Most of them were found to be safe, but failed to stimulate the body’s immune system,”
Borna Nyaoke, a clinical trial physician at the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative, said yesterday.“Now we are trying different methods that can deliver it directly into the cell.”She said some of the new delivery methods include administering through nasal drops and electroporation, where the vaccine is given through a quick, high-voltage pulse to overcome the barrier of the cell membrane.
“We are working on a HIV vaccine. We will get it, but it will take time,” Nyaoke said during a world HIV Vaccine Awareness Day conference convened in Nairobi by WACI Health, a regional advocacy group. She said all the Kenyan vaccine candidates passed safety levels but stalled at Phase Two.Nyaoke said candidates would take at least another 10 years of testing even if scientists find a better delivery method. It is hard to make an HIV vaccine because the virus mutates quickly and a vaccine against one type may not protect against another.
Vaccines work by mimicking natural infections, during which the body produces antibodies that kill the virus.But HIV doesn’t stimulate this kind of response. The body’s immune systems are generally blind to the virus and unable to launch an effective antibody attack.There is also the lack of good animal models to study. KAVI, an affiliate of the University of Nairobi, has been conducting vaccine research since 2001. Globally, the efforts are more than 30 years old.
WACI health executive director Rosemary Mburu praised HIV research efforts in Kenya and called for more government funding.“Finding a vaccine is costly and involves a lot of research. But it is essential and possible. That is why we need to invest in it,” she said.
UNAIDS says a vaccine would be the most effective way to control the virus.“The biggest impacts in the eradication or control of infectious diseases in the history of public health have been achieved through vaccination,” Michel Sidibé, Unaids executive director, said. “This is why a vaccine is worth continuing to invest in.”
The African Civil Society Platform on Health and GFAN Africa Urge African and World Leaders to Urgently Address Drug Resistant TB
Drug Resistant TB: Time to Act is now
Tuberculosis is killing more people than any other infectious disease; close to two million people died from TB last year. The rise of these reported TB cases is a big cause for concern.
“But the emergence of new superbugs that can resist even the most powerful antibiotics should make bigger headlines”, Says Rosemary Mburu, Executive Director, WACI Health. “While antimicrobial resistance is going to affect treatment for many health conditions, drug-resistant TB is particularly concerning as it accounts for about one-third of all antimicrobial resistance deaths”.
The growth of these forms of drug-resistant TB has a potentially disastrous impact in the fight against the disease. In 2015, there were approximately 580,000 cases of drug-resistant TB. Only 20 percent of those were diagnosed, treated or reported to national health systems across the world. Drug-resistant TB ended up killing 250,000 of people that year.
“This form of the disease now threatens many recent gains made against the response to TB and HIV globally,” said Carol Nawina- Kachenga, Executive Director, CITAM+. “Over the last few decades, the global community has worked so hard to defeat HIV. Today, Tuberculosis, the world’s most infectious disease is threatening to reverse these gains by killing our communities. It is killing our grandmothers in Kinshasa, our mothers in Soweto, our brothers in Ndola and children all over Africa. It is pushing us further into poverty and killing our dreams.
“Africa is home to four of the 27 global high multidrug-resistant TB burden countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa.” Says Olayide Akanni, Executive Director, Journalists Against AIDS, Nigeria. “ Our people continue to suffer in the face of lack of new drugs to treat drug-resistant TB and ineffectiveness of existing treatments, which are long and often cause adverse side effects.”
A widespread epidemic of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis is also unfolding in South Africa, where cases have increased substantially since 2002. Alone, the country contributed 562 of the 4,040 XDR-TB cases enrolled on treatment globally in 2014. “This is a time bomb in South Africa and President Jacob Zuma must champion TB R&D in South Africa and globally, through his G20 membership,” says Daniel Molokele, Steering Committee Member, CISPHA.
Global health partners must halt and reverse the growth of drug-resistant TB. The time to act is now.
On World TB day 2017, we, members of the CISPHA and GFAN Africa, united in our resolve to ending TB:
- Join other global health organizations in calling for TB to be added to the World Health Organization’s list of high priority drug-resistant bacteria. Our call comes in the wake of WHO’s first ever list of antibiotic-resistant pathogens released as part of the effort to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. Currently, that list does not include TB.
- Call upon African governments to prioritize tuberculosis in national health and development agendas by increasing investments in research and development for TB to support creation and uptake of new tools and drugs to respond to drug-resistant TB.
- In the run-up to the upcoming G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, in July, we call upon G20 leaders – including President Jacob Zuma – to demonstrate leadership in responding to drug-resistant TB by committing to fund new research to develop better drugs and treatment regimens to respond to the disease.
About CISPHA: The Civil Society Platform on Health in Africa (CISPHA), is an Africa regional advocacy platform, which aims at a coordinated Civil Society response on health in Africa. The Platform was launched in 2009, when 60 networks and network organizations, joined forces to utilize evidence for Advocacy and Lobby at continental level, linking the efforts at national and regional levels to influence decision processes at the African Union and its institutions. CISPHA is hosted by WACI Health.
About GFAN Africa: Nested within CISPHA, the Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) Africa is a regional hub for GFAN. GFAN Africa unites voices and efforts from all over Africa to support a fully funded Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
 In high burden TB settings it has been noted that 15-20% of all TB cases are among children.
President Donald Trump has reinstated the Mexico City Policy – an abortion-related requirement prohibiting foreign non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. funding from using their resources on abortion or abortion advocacy. But other countries, led by The Netherlands, have moved swiftly to try minimize the impact of the Trump’s order.
The policy – also known as the global gag rule was established by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It provides that to receive U.S. funds, organizations must desist from using money from any source (including non-U.S. funds) for abortion or abortion advocacy. President Trump’s provisions go beyond previous ones by Republican Presidents, which barred organizations from receiving U.S. government global-family-planning funding. His gag rules are extended to cover all other U.S. global-health funding. The memorandum signed by President Trump also extends the requirements beyond non-governmental organizations to include “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.” In the last few weeks since this new order was signed, global health advocates have worried that the gag rule will harm global health, reversing gains made against many diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. More importantly, the new order would affect the provision of reproductive health services for millions of women around the world.
It is why WACI Health is excited to hear plans by the Netherlands to establish an international fund to mitigate the effects of President Trump’s gag rule on women’s reproductive health services. Launching the She Decides initiative, Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, said new funding will be used “to make sure that women and girls all over the world have access to family planning services.” It is reported that seven other countries, including Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Luxemburg, Finland, Canada and Cape Verde have offered their support.
In her message in support of women’s reproductive health rights, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, said that Canada will make a significant contribution in sexual and reproductive health rights and advocacy for women’s rights, contribute to sex education for boys and girls, to the provision of contraceptives, to family planning, to legal safe abortions and to maternal and newborn health.
We commend the Netherlands for coming up with this great initiative. We commend the other countries that are standing up for women in these very uncertain times. The world has made remarkable progress in the fight against infectious diseases and in promoting and protecting reproductive health rights of women in the last two decades. We cannot stop now.
A growing wave of nationalism is sweeping across the West and demanding a sharper focus on domestic issues and lesser engagement abroad. For global health investments in Africa, which have been heavily supported by international funding, these happenings call for increased domestic investments in health and other areas of development.
The rise of nationalism sentiments have been wide ranging – from Austria, to France and the Netherlands. However, two recent developments – the victory by the Brexiters in the UK in June 2016 and the election of President Trump in the U.S. less than five months later – are certainly the most momentous. The two events are the best exemplifications of the global politics of the times. More and more countries seem to be looking inward, not outward. In his inaugural speech as the President of the United States, Donald Trump vowed: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”
While it is still early to know what effect the Trump administration’s policies will have on global development, The New York Times has reported that the administration is “preparing executive orders that would clear the way to drastically reduce the United States’ role in the United Nations and other international organizations.” The orders would kick off the process of reviewing and potentially repealing certain forms of multilateral treaties, the Times reported.
For years now, advocates across Africa have been calling on African governments to step up their investments in global health. Africa bears a disproportionate burden of diseases. It is estimated that sub-Saharan Africa has 11 percent of the world’s population but 24 percent of disease burden. Despite the tremendous progress made against the big three infectious diseases – HIV, TB and malaria – numerous African’s continue to die of these diseases every year. To end these diseases and others that continue to kill many on the continent, advocates have called on African governments to find ways to invest more of their own money towards this cause.
Progress against major infectious diseases in the last two decades has been unequivocal. For instance, an estimated 790 000 people died in the African Region from HIV-related causes in 2014, according to WHO. That was a 48 percent drop in number of deaths from the disease compared to 1.5 million people in 2004. That progress was achieved through strong investments by international development funders and African governments. To end HIV, TB and other diseases as epidemics, advocates have called on international funders and African governments to do more.
With the growing wave of nationalism, and the possibility that contributions by international funders can decline, African countries have a bigger duty to ensure that this progress does not stall. If funding levels from the U.S. – the single biggest investor in international funding for global health – falls, the dream of ending HIV, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics by 2030 may not be realized. We hope that the U.S. and other big donor governments will safeguard and advance this work, completing the wonderful job they started. This is especially crucial, as we get closer than ever to ending major diseases as epidemics.
We call on African countries to step up their investments in global health to fill any gaps that may be left by a possible decline in international funding.
If it turns out that the growing anti-globalization sentiments will not result to reduced investments in global health, then that sustained funding and stronger investments by African governments can help us to press forward faster with the goals of ending HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics by 2030 as well as build stronger health systems to tackle other diseases. This would be a landmark victory for all in the world, which would save millions and millions of lives, revitalize communities, create stronger economies and spawn greater benefits for all people in all corners of the world.
In February, Africa elected Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat as the new chairperson of the African Union Commission (AU) replacing South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
One of the most remarkable advances in global health under the leadership of Dlamini-Zuma, was the formation of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a public health agency to lead the transformation of Africa’s health.
The birth of Africa CDC is timely and crucial because it will address the uneven burden of disease as evident in sub-Saharan Africa that carries 11 percent of the world’s population but 24 percent of disease burden as per the AU Commission Strategic Plan 2014-2017.
As the secretariat to the Civil Society platform for Health in Africa (CISPHA), we are elated to witness the formation of this historic initiative – which Africa’s civil society advocated for vigorously.
It is a significant opportunity for Africa to improve the health of its people – a key element in shaping the continent’s sustainable development. We urge Mahamat to strengthen this new outfit and anchor it as a centerpiece of his leadership.
The weakness of many institutions in Africa lack of clear leadership and sufficient resources. We hope that the chairperson will give the agency the support it needs – both in leadership and in resources – to allow it to achieve its mandate of achieving better health for the people of the continent.
A new research report from ACTION shows that while countries have taken steps in the right direction to combat the deadly duo of TB and HIV, policy improvements have not all translated into changes at the facility level.
The report, From Policy to Practice: How the TB-HIV Response is Working launched at the International AIDS conference in July 2016, affirms that of all the countries with high burdens of HIV-associated TB, the government of South Africa has most fully embraced TB-HIV integration and actively taken steps to implement collaborative activities. Support for TB-HIV collaboration flourishes within the Ministry of Health, who was the first country to develop a joint strategic plan for HIV, TB, and STIs.
South Africa’s government has been incredibly innovative in its fight against TB and HIV, and has recently begun to implement the recommendations in South African HIV and TB Investment Case published in March 2016. This investment case, which began as a requirement for a Global Fund HIV proposal and was taken further by the government, affirms that HIV and TB represent among the most serious of all health threats to the people of South Africa. South Africa is also in a unique position among high burden countries to scale up R&D for new diagnostics and treatments.
Despite the country’s strong efforts to fight TB and HIV, the report highlights a key challenge: A health system fractured between overburdened public clinics and well-resourced private providers accessible only to elites means that many people who need services are being left behind. To address inequity, South Africa is rolling out a national health insurance financing system over the next 14 years and is working to address quality of care in public clinics.4,5 For the “ideal clinic” concept to be realized, public health facilities, especially at the primary health care level, need to be resourced (i.e., financially and staffing-wise, with trainings to build capacity, and dissemination and implementation of new guidelines and policies).
On this World AIDS Day, ACTION partner WACI Health in collaboration with TB/HIV Care Association proposes to creating a moment where recommendations from the report From Policy to Practice: How the TB-HIV Response is Working along with the case study Combating TB-HIV in South Africa can be brought to relevant stakeholders including government, donors and civil society. This event will be taking place in Mdantsane NU 1 Community hall on the 8th of December 2016 from 9h30.
The key messages are as follows:
- The South Africa government should increase investment in research and development by 33 percent to support the advancement of new tools to fight TB and TB-HIV.
- The Ministry of Health should work with primary health care facilities to support the implementation of TB-HIV policies.
- Donors should continue to invest in high impact TB-HIV interventions and support sustainable national programs.
- Civil society must work to promote equitable access to care and support community-based responses to TB-HIV care
For further information, please contact:
Sizwe Nombasa Gxuluwe, Waci health, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell:082640554
Nairobi, May 17-18 2016. In commemoration of the 2016 World AIDS Vaccine Day, representative civil society groups from the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region convened to re-invigorate and accelerate Civil Society Action on investments and innovation in AIDS Vaccine Research and Development among other New Prevention Technologies (NPTs).
The timing of this meeting, hosted by WACI Health, KANCO, MANASO, EANNASO in partnership with IAVI, coincided with the process for the High Level Meeting on HIV&AIDS- a process that would lead to the endorsement of a political declaration reiterating commitment by UN member states to bring about an end to the AIDS epidemic.
Africa civil society had agreed to a common civil society regional position on the HLM, which included this specific language on preventive vaccines:Boldly pursue new scientific solutions and expand investment in research and development for improved diagnostics, easier and more tolerable treatment regimens, preventive and therapeutic vaccines, and other prevention technologies as well as a functional cure.
Is Prevention being left behind?
This particular language and demand, which set the tone for the 2 day’s meeting, had been inspired by concerns over slowed but not reversed tide of new HIV infections. As noted by Ms. Jacquline Makokha, UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, in her remarks callingupon CSOs to join UNAIDS in its efforts to revitalize HIV prevention. She added that in overall, provision of large scale, effective HIV prevention interventions were yet to be optimized, hence the slow reduction of new infections. She further noted that with funding for prevention dwindling, fewer than one in five people at risk of HIV infection today has access to prevention programs.She elaborated on theUNAIDS quota for prevention campaign, which calls for 25% of all funding for HIV/AIDS programs to prevention efforts.
Still too many new infections
While prevention approaches including condoms, VMMC, antiretroviral treatment as prevention (TasP) and PrEP have brought about substantial reductions in new HIV infections, with a record of 14% decline in ESA region between 2010-2015, there are still too many people becoming infected worldwide to bring the epidemic to a halt. According to UNAIDS 2016 data, 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2015, globally. Eastern and Southern Africa is home to 960,000 of those, accounting for 46% of the global total of new HIV infections.
Need for new tools
The need for new tools to bolster existing strategies for prevention and ultimately end the pandemic is undeniably of paramount importance. Glenda Gray, President of the South African Medical Research Council, and colleagues,in their paper on ending AIDS, argue that the widespread elimination of HIV will require the development of new, more potent prevention tools. The paper goes further to point out that true containment of the epidemic requires the development and widespread implementation of a scientific advancement that has eluded us to date—a highly effective vaccine. A safe, effective, licensed, affordable and accessible vaccine would help to sustain the impact of expanded access to existing treatment and prevention options.
Dr Borna Nyamboke of KAVI Institute of Clinical Research, in her remarks further stressed that efforts to ensure broader access to HIV testing and treatment as well as existing and emerging HIV prevention options must go hand-in-hand with efforts for additional ways to prevent HIV, including a vaccine.‘Indeed, there are now more tools than ever to help control the HIV epidemic, but an HIV vaccine remains a critical component of the long-term strategy for ultimately ending the epidemic.’
Long timeframe for availability; planning for access
While vaccine development is a slow, iterative process, now 35 years into the HIV epidemic, researchers believe that an HIV vaccine is closer than ever,given the probable start of new vaccine efficacy trials in 2016/2017. Results from theseefficacy trials would likely not be available until 2021. In addition, positive results are just the beginning of making a vaccine available to those who need it. Moving from trial results to licensure, wide-scale manufacturing and rollout plans can add several years to the process. Therefore, planning for access after positive results should take place in parallel with the research.
Advocates, donors, policymakers, regulators and funders all have a role to play in planning now to ensure that positive results from a trial are translated as quickly as possible to a safe, effective, licensed and widely accessible HIV vaccine.
HIV Prevention R&D Investment
Research on HIV&AIDS is identified as important in HIV and AIDS response world over with hopes for advanced treatment, vaccine, and a cure being purely hinged on HIV&AIDS Research. However, overall funding has remained at nearly the same level for approximately a decade. In 2015, preliminary reported funding for HIV prevention R&D decreased from US$ 1.25 billion in 2014 to US$1.18 billion. Changing funding dynamics and priorities in donor countries have shaped these trends and will continue to do so in years to come. Currently, neither national budgets nor regional commitments to health demonstrate adequate investment in new HIV prevention R&D.
DrNdukuKilonzo, the Director of the Kenya National AIDS Control Council, speaking to the 36 CSO leaders from 13 countries in the ESA region, in her opening remarks made reference to NACC’s leadership towards increased investments for HIV research agenda in Kenya- an initiative that could be replicated in other African countries. NACC’s policy brief on domestic financing of the HIV and AIDS research agenda provides guidance on the policy directions required to ensure a greater return on investment. Most notably NACC willwork to ensure commitments of allocation of 2% of GDP to the National Research Fund (NRF) and 10% of total HIV spending to HIV research are materialized
Civil society role and commitment
Thirty six CSO leaders from 13 countries in the ESA region gathering in commemoration of WAVD 2016 at this meeting, reiterated their commitment to addressing HIV&AIDS, and a world without AIDS. To achieve that vision, civil society must not lose sight of two things:
- Making maximum use of the prevention and treatment strategies available right now.
- Investing in research and development of critically needed new prevention options.
The group further called Civil Society in Africa to strengthen and sustain momentum to support innovation and accelerate research & development toward new prevention options (like vaccines and microbicides), better treatment therapies, and a cure. The meeting underscored the need for Civil Society and communities to continue to discuss and share experiences on how CSOs are transitioning to respond to HIV R & D needs in the quest for an end to AIDS.
CS committed to step up advocacy and issued a call to action, boldly calling upon African governments to accelerate HIV R&D investments through:
- Budgetary allocation of at least 15% of national budgets to health so as to increase funding to accelerate R&D for newer and improved health technologies including HIV new prevention technologies.
- Budgetary allocation of at least 2%of ministries of health budget to research
- 10% of HIV allocations be earmarked for research
- 25% of HIV allocations be earmarked for prevention efforts
Rosemary Mburu is the Executive Director of WACI Health, which hosts the Africa Civil Society Platform on Health (CiSPHA) and GFAN Africa hub. WACI Health is an ACTION partner, a global health advocacy partnership.
The Mozambican city of Maputo, naturally endowed with one of the longest Indian Ocean coastline, is beautiful and inviting. Being in Mozambique the week of 19-22 April, was exciting. First, perhaps because of the calming breeze and waters of the Indian Ocean and second because of the possibilities I encountered in a meeting with many inspiring people working in global health. We were here for the ‘Regional Global Fund Forum for Sharing Experiences among Implementing Countries’. Present at the meeting were over 150 delegates from the 7 countries that form a grouping called ‘High Impact Africa 2’: Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia.
Meeting Alberto was, however, perhaps, my most precious and unforgettable Maputo experience. Precious for the openness and resilience that Alberto exhibited and the unforgettable fire he lit up in my belly. The ambivalent range of emotions I experienced- anger, shame, pride, hope, and determination-reminded me that the global health advocacy work some of us do truly does save lives and is worth every minute and penny.
Co-infected with HIV and TB, Alberto told the story of his life in its fullness. Joys, struggles, hopes, the lows, and the highs. Stigma, lack of nutritional support, inefficiencies in the health system, burn out among community health workers and much more.
Moments of hope in this encounter included when he dashed into his house and brought out a black polythene bag. One by one he spread his HIV and TB medication on the floor, explaining each medication including when and how many times he takes his drugs. He recounted the numerous occasions he has been hospitalized. He is on TB treatment for a second phase of six months.Jane, the health care worker who visits Alberto at his house several times a week, through the Global Fund supported DOTs program,narrated that Alberto’s doctors had recently confirmed that he was resistant to a number of drugs and had ordered change of medication. In his view, he would not have lived to tell this story had it not been for the drugs.
Alberto is a living example of how investments in TB and HIV programs are keeping people like him alive, by identifying them and enabling them to access both HIV and TB treatment among other services. With these investments, Alberto has also been linked to care through the DOTs program. There are about 3 million TB cases that are still not diagnosed or are diagnosed but not registered by the National TB programs globally, and specifically in Africa which, is home to 16 out of the 30 TB high burden countries. Also, there are many people living with HIV out there who are yet to be screened for TB. Yet, over 50% of deaths of people living with HIV are TB related.
Alberto is a reminder of the need for greater TB/HIV collaboration in order to ensure that synergy between TB/HIV programs is optimized. National governments ought to increase domestic investments not only in TB/HIV programs but also in health in general. International investments in health are also critical in providing resources for health services and care.
The Global Fund is a unique funding mechanism to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. Global Fund supported programs have saved 17 million lives since 2002, and the Fund is on track to reach 22 million lives saved by the end of 2016. This clearly makes the Fund one of the smartest investments in global health and key in realizing the Sustainable Development Goal 3 for Health. To keep people, like Alberto, alive, the Global Fund needs at least US$13 billion for the next replenishment period (2017-2019).
My hope, inspired by Alberto and the beautiful city of Maputo, is that by the time my 10 years old girl is 25, we will have fixed healthcare for ALL in Africa.
Rosemary Mburu is the Executive Director of WACI Health, which hosts the Africa Civil Society Platform on Health (CiSPHA) and GFAN Africa hub. WACI Health is an ACTION partner, a global health advocacy partnership.
 Not his real name.
Investment Case for the Global Fund’s 2017-2019 Replenishment:The Right Side of the Tipping Point For AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, December 2015, http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/search/?q=investment+case