Lusaka — The Government of the Republic of Zambia, the Churches Health Association of Zambia, and the Global Fund today reaffirmed their partnership, signing four new grants worth US$234 million to fight HIV, TB and malaria in Zambia.
The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many donors, represented today by the European Union, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Beyond finances, the grant agreements embody solidarity with the people of Zambia, supporting health initiatives through partnership with UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, WFP and WHO, (RED), ONE and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others.
The HIV/TB grants expand availability of anti-retroviral medication for people living with both HIV and tuberculosis from 80 percent in 2013 to a target of 90 percent by 2017. Zambia will also intensify TB case detection among key populations, children, prisoners and other groups identified by Zambia's TB survey, and enhance HIV/TB integration.
The malaria grants aim to sustain universal coverage of treatment and increase household use of mosquito nets from 49 percent in 2012 to 85 percent by 2017.
The number of malaria cases and deaths is expected to halve in 2017 compared with 2013. The grants also strengthen community and health systems.
The grants were finalized faster than in the past, a key element of the funding model the Global Fund adopted at the start of 2014. The time between approval and grant start previously took six months or longer. These grants start within two months of approval.
The new grants run for three years and also see the welcome return of the Ministry of Health as a Principal Recipient, strengthening the Zambia partnership for impact on the three diseases.
This important development has been made possible by the ongoing investment of the Ministry of Health and key partners such as the UNDP.
Zambia has met the Millennium Development Goals targets for TB mortality and incidence and provides treatment for over 80 percent of the people in need.
Between 2010 and 2013, four percent of the global increase in anti-retroviral treatment came from Zambia. In the past three years in-patient malaria deaths for all ages has decreased by more than 25 percent. Global Fund grants have contributed to these achievements.
"We have come a long way in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, reducing infections and deaths, and prolonging life," said Dr Joseph Kasonde, Zambia Minister of Health.
"Our commitment to improve the health of Zambians is unwavering. We aim to fulfil our obligations to reduce malaria deaths to zero and reach our malaria elimination target by 2016 and reduce HIV maternal transmission to less than two percent by 2016. With the support from the Global Fund and other partners, the Government of Zambia shall achieve these goals."
The Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) will work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Health implementing programs throughout the country. "CHAZ is very happy to see the return of the Ministry of Health and will work closely with them to deliver quality, affordable and holistic health services to benefit the people of Zambia, particularly those living in rural and hard to reach parts of our country," said Karen Sichinga, CHAZ Executive Director.
The Head of the European Union Delegation to Zambia Gilles Hervio said: "The European Commission and its member states are very significant contributors to the Global Fund and are delighted to witness the signing of these grants. Too many Zambians still suffer from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. We remain committed to working together."
U.S. Ambassador Eric Schultz said: "We applaud Zambia's successes and remain a committed partner in combating these three diseases. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Global Fund in support of the Government of Zambia."
Lena Nordström, Ambassador of Sweden to Zambia said: "We are pleased that the MoH has regained the role as Principal Recipient which will boost country ownership of the health sector."
Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, said: "The targets Zambia has set for these grants are critical to further reducing the toll the three disease are taking on the people and economy of Zambia. The Global Fund is a mechanism serving countries and donors alike. We are privileged to work with the Government of Zambia and its partners in their fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria."
Mrs Marian Munyinda, Chair of the Global Fund Country Co-ordinating Mechanism, said: "The Zambia CCM is pleased to have played its role in developing the successful applications to the Global Fund with all constituencies and is grateful for the hard work of its members and the support of all partners."