The Global Fund (GF), established by the United Nations (UN), to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, is working at raising $46 billion from government sources to help save 16 million lives worldwide from the three diseases.
Dubbed the ‘Sixth Replenishment,’ the fund is calling on the world to step up the fight against HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria.
Additionally, the GF, an international financing organisation, is seeking to raise US$14 billion from other international donors to also avert 234 million infections in the next three years.
At the local level, a round-table discussion, dubbed “Mobilising Civil Society Organisation’s (CSOs) for Domestic Resource Mobilisation and the Global Fund 6th Replenishment,” has been held with members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health in Accra.
The meeting was aimed at facilitating and mobilising civil society and stakeholder advocacy on domestic resource mobilisation and soliciting the commitment of governments, private sector and development partners towards the fund.
The roundtable discussion was organised by the Hope for Future Generations, a Ghanaian advocacy and health non-governmental organisation (NGO) in partnership with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
Also in attendance was Mr Cyril Nogier, the Senior Country Manager, Anglophone-Africa Region Country Support, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, a public–private global health partnership committed to increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.
Addressing the Members of Parliament (MPs) at the meeting in Accra, the Head of Civil Society and Political Advocacy, Global Fund, Ms Linda Mafu, called on them to help raise domestic funds for the advancement of health care across the world.
She said the fund currently had limited resources but more competing health issues to deal with.
In his submission, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Mr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, said the time had come for governments to invest in health.
‘Limited resources’ mantra
According to him, successive governments “sometimes overplay the ‘limited resources’ mantra, so as not to do anything”.
Mr Twum-Nuamah said people saw the health sector as a place where money was pumped into with no returns, but “if we see the sector as an economic good and not only as social, then investments made would be seen as having a ripple effect.”
He said the Parliamentary Health Committee, for its part, was committed to ensuring that Ghana attached the required seriousness to the need to replenish the Global Fund to fight AIDs, TB and Malaria.
The Deputy Minister, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr William Kwasi Sabi, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, said only 8.5 per cent of the country’s budget supported health as against 15 per cent recommended by the African Union (AU).
He said the challenge with the funding of the GF was that not all countries could raise counterpart funds before they could benefit from the fund.
Mr Sabi said while the intention was not to condone a situation where governments would be irresponsible with regard to commitment, it was necessary that they were held accountable to what they pledged.
The Deputy Ranking Member on Health, Dr Robert Kuganab, was of the view that although most African countries had the resources, they lacked the needed commitment.
He said governments were obliged to ensure that their people had access to health care so the need for them to resource health care should be their priority and pointed out that African governments could not rely on grants forever.
The Fund Portfolio Manager of the GF, Mr Mark Saalfield, called on governments to look at the economic benefits of the health sector and invest in the health of their people.
The Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), a civil society organisation (CSO), Mrs Cecilia Senoo, said African CSOs had identified key moments in 2019, such as the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Conference held in Kigali in March, the UHC High level meeting to be held in September in New York, the AU Francophone Summit in October, as well as country budgets and national health forums, as opportunities and entry points for advocacy for domestic resource mobilisation for the Global Fund.