Thursday, February 18, 2010

No interruption of ARV treatment in Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby – The Global Fund is ethically committed to providing life-saving anti-retroviral treatment to more than 6,000 people living with HIV in Papua New Guinea (PNG) at least till September 2012 despite the expiry of the current grant to the country.

Papua New Guinea’s existing HIV grant agreement, which provides for ARV treatment, expires on 31 August 2010 and a new grant application in 2009 was rejected by the Global Fund’s Board after it failed to receive a positive recommendation from an independent international panel of global health and development experts. As a result there have been concerns within Papua New Guinea regarding approximately 6,300 individuals currently receiving treatment.
The Global Fund wishes to allay the significant anxiety in Papua New Guinea among individuals receiving anti-retroviral therapy and their families and friends. The Global Fund has a clear policy regarding the continuation of life-extending critical treatment when a grant comes to an end. PNG is eligible to apply for up to two years of funding to pay for the products and services that are directly related to the continuation of treatment for existing patients.  Papua New Guinea’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) submitted the application for Continuity of Services (COS) on 15 February 2010.

The Global Fund will review the application closely during the next twelve weeks and request clarifications, particularly regarding the confirmed number of individuals registered and receiving ART.  While the Global Fund has an internal review process and the final decision is subject to Board approval, there is an ethical commitment to ensuring a steady flow of life-saving treatment. 

The final number of patients eligible will be based on the total number of patients receiving treatment and registered on 31 August 2010, when the current HIV/AIDS grant between NDOH and the Global Fund ends.  The Continuity of Services does not cover any new patients enrolling on ART after 31 August 2010.  The Global Fund understands, however, that the Government is committed to finding ways to treat new patients, including children, and stepping up prevention of parent to child transmission and continuing important counseling and testing services that it has been offering.

A two-member team from the Global Fund, led by Dr Swarup Sarkar, Asia Director, and Chrishan Thuraisingham, Fund Portfolio Manager, has been in Papua New Guinea since 14 February to work with the Government and Development Partners to review the need for additional services and co-financing from the Government of PNG in the HIV and AIDS response. 


The Global Fund is a unique global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents a new approach to international health financing. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organisations to supplement existing efforts dealing with the three diseases.

Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the dominant financier of programmes to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, with approved funding of US$ 18.4 billion for more than 600 programmes in 144 countries. To date, programmes supported by the Global Fund have saved 4.9 million lives through providing AIDS treatment for 2.5 million people, ant-ituberculosis treatment for 6 million people and the distribution of 104 million insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria.


Information on the work of the Global Fund is available at

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