Myanmar Needs to Close Funding Gaps to Scale up HIV Prevention and Treatment

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Yangon, Myanmar 21 March 2013: The Global Fund country team is visiting Myanmar this week to work with partner agencies and stakeholders to assess further funding for HIV, TB and Malaria. If successful, Myanmar would access an indicative amount of US$ 89.5 million funding to be shared for progamme response to all three diseases over the next four years. The final approved amount may be higher, to be determined by a variety of factors and to be decided by the Global Fund Board meeting in June 2013.

Despite the increase, the indicative amount available through the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, would still leave significant funding gaps for scaling up HIV interventions to reach 85 per cent of key affected populations as planned in Myanmar by 2015.

Country partners welcome the latest contribution from the Global Fund, however, have also expressed concerns that the level of funding for HIV remains inadequate for scaling-up and expanding implementation to reach more people in need, particularly with the priority ARV treatment, prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child, HIV testing and counseling and harm reduction and prevention for sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.

“We would like to see things move faster. People are dying – they need treatment today. People living with HIV who are eligible to receive ARV must be on treatment. We request all the partners to support us, to make sure that we will all receive treatment as soon as possible,” urged Mr Soe Moe Kyaw, representative of people living with HIV, Myanmar Positive Group.

“The current funds available for HIV under the New Funding Model of Global Fund are US$33 million per year. While it is good news that we will be funded from 2013 until 2016, the challenge is that a gap of US$ 28 million per year would not allow us to meet the needs and commitments of the programme,” commented Mr Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Country Coordinator. He further explained that this funding will allow partners to barely maintain current level of programme implementation, “Scaling up to reach more people with life-saving HIV prevention and treatment will require increased financial investment, particularly in the areas of human resources, information management, supply chain management and decentralizing processes and systems.”

The new funding model introduced by Global Fund improves the mechanisms for greater engagement from the outset between the Global Fund and the receiving country. This includes development of a collaborative concept note developed by all partners on the areas of funding as opposed to the previous model whereby countries prepared and submitted proposals. This mechanism allows better understanding of the issues on the ground and ways of addressing them through a consultative process for both parties and saves time lag for back and forth clarifications.

“Myanmar needs additional investment now to save lives. At the moment, Myanmar is able to provide ARV to 53,000 people. An estimated number of 125,000 people are in need of treatment. Without additional resources it will not be possible to provide services to more people this year or next. The programmes are over-stretched and much more financial, human, and technical resources will be needed to establish new sites to reach more people,” said Mr Peter Paul de Groote, Country Director, MSF-Holland.

“We know how to eliminate mother to child transmission and keep mothers alive and healthy. But UNICEF is concerned that the planned level of resources is far too low to make it happen in Myanmar. It is urgent that the Government increases its resources in support to the national response and that international development partners unite to help the country meet its commitment towards its people. Without such an a joint effort we will continue to see high numbers of children born with HIV in 2015 and beyond and too many mothers dying of AIDS complications in the absence of life-saving treatment. Solidarity must prevail to save lives,” said Mr. Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative in Myanmar.

It is a unique opportunity for Myanmar as the first country where the new Global funding model of the Global Fund is being implemented. Country partners in Myanmar can contribute towards flexibility and accommodation in the model’s development.

For more information please contact:

Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Myanmar

+95-1-375527-32 email:

Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Country Coordinator

+95-1-252361-62, +95-1-252498