On September 30, an agreement between the Georgian Government and Global Fund was signed.
More than 300 delegates from over 30 countries convened in the Georgian capital for a three-day Regional Dialogue “Road to Success” to discuss the financing of response to infectious diseases in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). Among the participants – Ministers of Health, renowned health care experts, high-level representatives of UN agencies, other international organizations as well as leaders of civil society and communities of people who use drugs.
Road to Success is hosted by the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia and represents a discussion dedicated to successful transition from donor to national funding for universal access to prevention, treatment and care of HIV and tuberculosis. Up until now, funding for most of such services in many countries of EECA was coming from donor organizations like The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In Georgia, for example, the low prevalence of HIV was sustained due to good coverage of harm reduction programs and HIV treatment, which were funded by the Global Fund. Now, the Georgian government commits to cover over 90% of HIV treatment costs, which will be delivered according to the international treatment standards.
The Action Plan sets out for the following 5 years, and will determine national and donor funding details. In this regard, the international consulting company “Global Alliance” consults the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs.
Company President Dr. Jean-Elie Malkin noted that Universal Health Care Program in terms of HIV and tuberculosis are very important issues. The country should step by step move to national funding for treatment and prevention programs.
The prevention of HIV and hepatitis C still relies on international donors, and their withdrawal in three-year’ time puts the continuation of such programs at risk. Therefore, the delegates of the Dialogue discussed financial, organizational and legislative needs as well as solutions needed to sustain preventive and treatment measures after the donors leave from 2019.
“The Dialogue in Tbilisi will give an invaluable opportunity for each participating EECA country to evaluate the status of preparedness to gradually undertake financing of prevention and treatment of HIV and tuberculosis. It is a reality check that is needed for everyone – state institutions, society at large, and most importantly, people who use drugs,” says Dasha Matyushina-Ocheret, Deputy Director on Advocacy and Communications of EHRN.
While the first and second day of the event were dedicated to technical discussions between medical, health economics experts and civil society, the third day will offer a unique opportunity for a high-level ministerial and donor dialogue on the transition to national funding, which will be concluded with a singing of a joint resolution.