by Greg Tartaglione, Sr. Communications Officer
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV welcomes the recent appointment of Peter Sands as the new Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. MSMGF hopes that theGlobal Fund will continue to be a powerful force in advancing human rights and gender equality for people infected with and affected by HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Peter Sands is a former chief executive of Standard Chartered bank and has an extensive background in global public health which makes him suited for the position at the global fund. Sands is currently the chairman of the World Bank’s International Working Group on Financing Pandemic Preparedness and a research fellow on global health and financial regulation at the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Mossavar Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
“Infectious diseases today represent one of the most serious risks facing humankind,” Sands said publically on behalf of the Global Fund. “If we work together to mobilize funds, build strong health systems and establish effective community responses we will be able to end epidemics, promote prosperity and increase our global health security.”
The Global Fund, which has made direct investments in 136 countries since 2002, has realized breakthrough impacts in global health – especially regarding access to treatment. However, we hope that the Global Fund will be able to do more to proactively and concurrently strengthen health and community systems as well as to ensure that HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria programs are comprehensive, coordinated, sustainable, mutually supportive, and effectively scaled up.
“Health is a human right, which is sadly denied to many people,” as George Ayala, MSMGF’s Executive Director, reminds us. “The Global Fund has and should continue to champion this issue, and commit to eliminate stigma and discrimination that undermines access to vital services. The Global Fund should remain unwavering in its commitment to unfettered access to prevention, care and treatment services for everyone, including for those living in Middle Income countries, with specific consideration to populations experiencing disease-related disparities. “
The kind of commitment we hope to see from the Global Fund should include:
- Giving strategic context-specific attention to transition plans and sustainability readiness in middle income countries with concentrated epidemics
- Incentivizing governments not to abandon vulnerable populations –especially men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and people who use drugs – as they step up country ownership
- Investing more in key population-led, community-based organizations
- Intensifying community engagement in the design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-informed services; increasing investment in evidence—based and community owned prevention
- And supporting programs to address stigma, discrimination, criminalization, and violence.
Mobilizing additional resources to secure funding is also particularly challenging for the Global Fund. The new executive director will have to guide the organization’s replenishment and grant-making efforts, which total approximately $4 billion each year in support of programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. We expect Peter Sands to propose forward-looking solutions which require partnerships that involve local communities, government, private sector actors, and academia operating concurrently across many spectrums.
MSMGF is an expanding network of advocates and other experts in sexual health, LGBT/human rights, research, and policy, working to ensure an effective response to HIV among gay men and other men who have sex with men. We are directly linked with more than 120 community-based organizations, across 62 countries.