Eliud Wandwalo, Global Fund Against HIV, TB, and Malaria
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate TAG and all the partners for this incredible initiative. We are very proud as Global Fund to be part of it. This is aligning very much with our new strategy, which was approved last year—it’s an extremely ambitious strategy. But we see this is not just the right thing to do, but this is really at the core of Global Fund processes. We see this as a human right—Global Fund was started to ensure that everyone, everywhere was accessing the latest recommended regimens, tools, and diagnostics. And we think this is really part of the Global Fund mandate to do that.
So, what we are going to do in the coming funding cycle, which we hope we’ll be able to communicate to the countries by the end of this year—the allocation for each country—and start the process from developing funding requests to country dialogue. We have introduced something we call “program essentials” as part of the process for the next cycle. Basically, with these program essentials, we will be requesting countries not only to submit their funding requests with the targets of the number of patients whom they will be treating, but also require countries to explain on how they are advancing on key issues, including provision of the latest recommended regimens in their funding requests.
In the past, of course, we still adhere to our operating model where we don’t tell countries what to do—there is country ownership of the requests—but we’ll ask them to explain in their funding requests how are they are advancing with, for example, in provision of the latest shorter regimen, and how many patients or what proportion of patients will be accessing that regimen, and what are the plans to reach everyone in their countries. We know that will require a lot of funding [more] than what we are providing, and we are advising countries to put what can be funded through allocation, what can be funded through other sources [including] through domestic, but then to put it above allocation. So that if there will be additional funding, either through portfolio optimization, reprogramming, or other means, that can also be funded. But what we think is important is not only to be able to indicate that, [but] to have that discussion at the country level, to discuss what are the bottlenecks for them to be able to do that, which we have not been doing previously. So, we think that’s a very powerful tool which we will use and we look forward to work with everyone, with every partner to support countries to be able to do that.
The other aspect which we think we can contribute to the campaign is really working with other partners and everyone to shape the market to make sure that these drugs are available at an affordable price. We look forward to working with GDF, Unitaid, and others to use our combined purchasing power. At the Global Find, we procure goods of about $2 billion per year—that’s a lot of funding—and we should use that power to ensure that we shape the market around these drugs. For us, we look forward to doing that.
One thing which is critical as well when we are discussing about [the] campaign and the introduction of these drugs. Yesterday I heard a very good quote about vaccines — that vaccines don’t save lives, but vaccination saves lives. So, it’s not really the issue of having drugs, [but] to ensure they are deployed, and they are deployed at scale. In TB we have this problem of piloting, so we have smaller projects every year. But we need to make sure that we really scale up, to make sure everyone is accessing these drugs, and that’s when we’ll have an effect with this campaign, but also with the newer regimens which are being introduced.