By: Marie Engel, UNAIDS
A strategic combination of private sector know-how and technologies with public sector expertise and funding could lead to improved health and a more efficient AIDS response in West and Central Africa. This was the message from a one day workshop held in Ghana focusing on the role of the private sector in Global Fund processes that brought together 60 companies, 10 national business coalitions tackling HIV and employers federations, as well as trade unions and development partners from all over West and Central Africa.
The workshop was organized at the initiative of UNAIDS and with the support of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GBC), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (Global Fund), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the German Development Cooperation (GTZ), and Partenaires contre le Sida (PCS). The October 22 workshop followed a two day event on malaria organized by the GBC.
During the lively discussions, participants shared ideas and identified opportunities to partner with the Global Fund both as fund recipients, and as co-investors, in order to scale-up community HIV, TB and malaria programs. Businesses also discussed how to deploy their resources, skills and expertise to support oversight and governance of the Global Fund mechanisms and processes at the local level. Technical support providers described how and where private sector actors could obtain relevant support at each of the various stages of the Global Fund processes.
The Minister of Health of Ghana, Benjamin Kumbuor gave a keynote speech at the event. He highlighted the importance of working hand in hand with the private sector to support the implementation of HIV, TB and malaria programs, and that Ghana serves as a good example of this. According to the Minister, the momentum seen in his country should extend across the continent and serve as catalyst for greater impact in reducing the social and economic burden of these epidemics. It also means working collectively to yield greater return on investments and more impact on the ground. UNAIDS agrees. “We need smarter investments in the AIDS response, to ensure that we can achieve more with less,” said Léopold Zekeng, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Ghana. “As long as there are five people newly infected for every two people starting HIV treatment, we will not change the trajectory of the epidemic. The Global Fund is a strategic and responsive investor in AIDS, and UNAIDS is working in close partnership supporting the Fund’s full grant cycle – from the development of AIDS grant proposals, to program implementation, to monitoring and evaluation.”
For more information, please contact Marie Engel, Partnership Adviser, Private Sector Partnerships, Partnerships and External Relations, UNAIDS.