Editorial

1. EDITOR'S NOTE
10 Mar 2021

This edition of the Global Fund Observer (GFO) starts with our much-anticipated feature article on COVID-19 and HIV by Alan Whiteside and Arnau van Wyngaard, the second in our series on how COVID-19 has changed life as we know it and its implications for the future of health programs, and global and domestic health funding (COVID-19 and HIV and AIDS. Where they do and do not overlap: epidemiology and science). Please note that our intention for each article is aspirational as content may change as we write; indeed, as the COVID-19 situation itself is changing. This series has aroused a considerable amount of interest among readers; and you will not be disappointed. To complement this feature article, we also include a story from the frontline in Rwanda that showcases the country’s remarkable approach to addressing COVID-19 (A global health threat such as COVID-19 requires a well-coordinated global response: Frontline experiences from Rwanda) ― strong leadership and other lessons learnt that many other countries would do well to take note of.

Our main series of articles in this issue report back from the Global Fund 6th Partnership Forums that bring together diverse stakeholders to contribute to the development of the next Global Fund Strategy. This year, thanks to COVID-19, the meetings have been held virtually ― a significant accomplishment given the circumstances but at the same time not without its challenges. As well as the three articles (Voices of the People 1, II and III) describing the main achievements, gaps and recommendations that came from the three regional meetings, we carry an article on the specific requests of the African Constituencies’ Bureaux in terms of their expectations for the next Strategy (Africa calls for investments in the three diseases and health systems at the 6th Global Fund Partnership Forums); and Katy Kydd Wright from the Global Fund Advocates Network reflects on what civil society and communities would like to see in the future Global Fund Strategy and its way of working (Civil society and community reflections on the Global Fund Partnership Forums to inform Global Fund Strategy development).

In our efforts to ensure equitable geographic coverage, our second article from the field is a topical reflection of what transitioning from Global Fund support has meant for civil society programs for key populations in the Ukraine (Ukraine: Surviving Global Fund transition to safeguard the HIV response). As an increasing number of countries approach their own transition, it is important to understand the impact this may have on civil society organisations’ survival under these circumstances.

We thought you might like to know more about the staff of Aidspan and the GFO. Hence, we have launched a series on the people behind the names. In this edition we start with an interview with Isaac Awuondo, Chairman of the NCBA Bank in Kenya and the Chairman of Aidspan’s Board of Directors (An interview with Isaac Awuondo ). What attracted this distinguished philanthropist to give his time to supporting the work of Aidspan? and what does he hope for its future?

Finally, a heads-up for the next GFO issue due out on 31 March: we will publish the first of two articles on harm reduction in the Asia Pacific region. We kick off with a feature from AIDS Alliance India focusing on community-led COVID 19 support for India and Nepal while they try to deliver harm reduction activities for key populations under severely constrained conditions. The follow up article will describe the highly-rated evaluation of the multi-country grant for five countries, looking at how community voices from these countries are asking for further Global Fund investment in regional grants focusing on key populations.

We would also like to draw your attention to our French sister publication, the Observateur du Fond Mondial (OFM), which is campaigning to improve access to the Global Fund’s strategic documents in French. As already analysed by Aidspan in a former article, the Global Fund has a limited number of key documents translated into languages such as French, Russian and Spanish. In the context of the Strategy development, and in order to enable the participation of the Francophone countries (where more than one-third of Global Fund resources are invested), OFM has just launched a blog dedicated to these issues. Global Fund documents will be translated, as well as all the delegations' position papers, and other resources in global health. Thanks to Aidspan’s efforts, all this material will be available in French; and you can access the blog at https://aidspan.org/fr/c/policy .

As ever, Aidspan and our editorial team, under the leadership of Ida Hakizinka, does its best to ensure the accuracy of data and statements in our published articles ― and hence our inclusion of hyperlinks ― but if you, the reader, identify an error or important omission, please notify me and provide me with your data source; and I shall be happy to publish a correction or amendment.

If you enjoy the GFO and find it relevant to your work, please encourage your colleagues to subscribe !

Don’t forget: if you are aware of an interesting development relevant to disease programmes or health systems and that you feel is worthy of global discussion, do let me know together with the name of a person prepared to write about this. Suggestions and comments can be sent to me in English, French or Spanish. My email address is: acampbell.white@aidspan.org.

 

Arlette Campbell White

 


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