UNICEF welcomes funding from the Global Fund to Fight Malaria

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in South Sudan has welcomed the grant worth 167 million U.S dollars provided by the Global Fund to the government to fight Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
The Vice President and Chair of the Service Cluster H.E Hussein Abdelbagi Akol accompanied by Honourable Yolanda Awel Deng, the Minister of Health and other top officials from the Ministry of Health, the South Sudan AIDS Commission, the Country Coordinating Mechanism CCM, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO during the grant launch.

By Benjamin Takpiny

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in South Sudan has welcomed the grant worth 167 million U.S dollars provided by the Global Fund to the government to fight Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

“Malaria ranks among the top three causes of child mortality in South Sudan, and it is estimated to account for a high proportion of consultations, admissions and deaths in children,” Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan said in a joint statement issued in Juba on Thursday.

 Lasseko emphasized the importance of improving access to quality services through strengthening facility-based diagnosis and treatment, integrating community case management of malaria, strengthening laboratory diagnosis, conducting therapeutic efficacy studies and social behavior change communication as critical component of the fight against malaria in South Sudan.

For his part, Russell Armstrong the Programme Coordination Advisor for the UNDP Global Fund Programme thanked the government, the Global Fund and partners for the renewed confidence in UNDP as a partner of choice for the stewardship of precious Global Fund resources on behalf of the people of South Sudan.

He pledged UNDP’s commitment to deliver on the aspirations of Global Fund Grant Cycle 7 (GC7).

“We have a tremendous opportunity in the next three years to achieve impact for the people of South Sudan and to bring everyone many steps closer to once and for all ending HIV, TB and malaria as public health burdens for the country,” Armstrong said.

Global Fund Grant Cycle 7 (GC7) is an important opportunity for countries to access funding for comprehensive harm reduction services for people who use drugs and supportive structural interventions such as advocacy for legal and policy reform, including decrimalisation.

The GC7 was launched on Wednesday by the government of South Sudan; Global Fund will consolidate gains and strengthen the national response to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in South Sudan over the next three years.

The launch of the new grant was presided over by the Vice President and Chair of the Service Cluster, Hussein Abdelbagi Akol and Yolanda Awel Deng, the minister of health at Pyramid Hotel, in Juba.

Valued at US$167 million, the contribution is comprised of $ 50.2 million for HIV, $ 17 million for TB, $ 23.5 million for Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH), $53.3 for malaria, and $23 million for pandemic preparedness and additional RSSH. This is the largest Global Fund contribution to the people of South Sudan since its independence in 2011.

This grant supports the country’s vision of ending AIDS, TB and malaria as public health threats by 2030, seeks to build resilient and sustainable health systems, strengthen pandemic preparedness and promote national, multi-sectoral response to health and health risks.

As the Principal Recipient for the HIV, TB, RSSH and C19RM components, UNDP, on behalf of the government and its partners, will manage a total of US$116.3 million which is also the highest amount under UNDP’s stewardship in recent periods. UNICEF will manage the component for malaria valued at

$53.3 million.

Malaria transmission in South Sudan is high with the 2017 Malaria Indicator Survey putting the parasite prevalence at 32% up from 28% in 2013. Because of the high transmission and limited coverage of prevention interventions, malaria case management is key to averting preventable loss of lives particularly for the most vulnerable populations such as women and children.

These components of the grant build on the achievements made through previous periods of Global Fund support. These include strengthening health systems, as well as the procurement, storage and distribution of HIV, TB, COVID-19 and laboratory reagents and health supplies which has ensured access to vital medicines and therapeutics in over 200 hospitals and health facilities across the country. Building on these gains, the new grant seeks to reach 78,000 people living with HIV with lifesaving medication, treating and curing 22,000 people affected by TB per year and equipping over 28 hospitals and health facilities with solar power installations, as well as providing a secure and reliable supply of medical oxygen country wide.

Additionally, the new grant seeks to reduce new HIV infections by 25% by 2026, reduce AIDS-related deaths by 25% by 2026, maintain above 70% coverage of combination HIV prevention interventions for

key and vulnerable populations, reach 85% of HIV+ pregnant women by 2026, reach 3,000 of HIV-Exposed Infants (HEI) with early Infant Diagnosis (EID) by 2026 and reduce HIV-related discrimination and other inequalities towards People Living with HIV/AIDS.

Others are increasing targets for the ‘first 95’ (people who are living with HIV knowing their HIV status) to 85,000 by 2026, increase the ‘second 95’ (people who know that they are living with HIV receiving ART) to 75,000 by 2026 and maintain the ‘third 95’ (people who are on treatment being virally suppressed) above 85% by 2026.

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