A Message to the Global Fund

Advocates and activists from the francophone MENA region gathered in Istanbul for a three-day workshop on increasing access to Global Fund resources for key populations. Participants worked together to formulate a message to the board of directors of the Global Fund in light of the recent replenishment, encouraging them to keep key populations affected by HIV, tuburculosis, and malaria at the frontlines of the response.

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Joint Statement of MSM Health and Rights Advocates in the Middle East and North Africa to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

November 11, 2019

Community health and rights activists from the Middle East and North African (MENA) region would like to congratulate the Global Fund board on its successful replenishment effort of $14.02 billion USD for the next three years – the largest amount ever raised for a multilateral health organization. 

The MENA region is dealing with an ever-growing epidemic, concentrated among key populations, all while coping with the effect of conflict and humanitarian crises. Working in countries with limited capacities and increased conservatism, we call for a response that is generous, flexible and increased focused on the most vulnerable, especially key populations of gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender people, and migrants.

As country and regional health and rights activists from Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, we have just completed a three-day workshop aiming to increase our collective skills in navigating Global Fund processes through the use of normative and evidence-based guidelines including the MSMIT (Implementing Comprehensive HIV and STI Programmes with Men Who have Sex with Men: Practical Guidance for Collaborative Interventions).

And, we gather in asking the Global Fund Board to:

  1. Continue the support of special programs pertaining to conflicts and migrant populations in the region, especially for countries with higher refugee burden like Jordan and Lebanon;
  2. Encourage the meaningful engagement of affected communities, especially key and vulnerable populations in the upcoming funding cycle in MENA and across the world, and at all levels in the forthcoming strategic planning process;
  3. Direct the Secretariat to develop guidance to CCMs, principal recipients and sub recipients for increasing investment in KP programming, and rapidly responding to crack downs on human rights and outbreaks of violence targeting key populations in MENA and across the world, in close consultation with the Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Advisory Group;
  4. Continue supporting the integration of human rights programs within the portfolio across the three diseases, including expansion of the Breaking Down Barriers Initiative;
  5. Prioritize comprehensive and differentiated prevention programs beyond condom programming (including pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP), and ensure that country proposed responses are evidence-based;
  6. Ensure that transitioning countries are well equipped to sustain their national response, especially key population programming, that are usually the first to suffer from budget cuts.
  7. Reaffirm its commitment to fully fund catalytic investments as prioritized in May 2019 at the last Board meeting;
  8. Ensure that if decisions are to be made for dividing additional funding across the prioritized catalytic funding categories, to prioritize community, rights and gender, which at present is relatively under-funded in relationship to need;
  9. Direct the Secretariat in the CRG Department to find creative ways to support community-led monitoring, advocacy and system strengthening as central to supporting resilient and sustainable systems for health (RSSH) in MENA and across the world;
  10. Ask the secretariat to develop stronger accountability guidelines when addressing substandard programs for key and vulnerable populations and countries that perform poorly in achieving reductions in incidence across the three diseases, including HIV;
  11. Promote an organizational culture of learning, which includes iterative, community engaged, and transparent evaluation approaches and training for secretariat staff on issues related to human rights and key populations.

We share the commitment to ensuring the Global Fund can achieve high impact in responding to AIDS, TB and malaria in our region and we hope that our demands are considered by the Global Fund Board members.

Elie Ballan M-Coalition – MENA
Dany Hanna M-Coalition – MENA
Rabih Maher M-Coalition – MENA
Walid Kebieche  ANISS – Algeria
Raouf Kamel  AIDS – Algeria
Ragheb El Bahri  ATP+ – Tunisia
Issam Gritli  ATL MST SIDA – Tunisia
Younes Yatine  ALCS – Morocco
Zakaria Bahtout  ITPC –  MENA
Bechara Samneh  Mozaic – Lebanon
Johnny Tohme MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights
Greg Tartaglione MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights
Nadia Rafif MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights

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Watch more from our workshop in Istanbul here: