On January 24, Friends of the Global Fund Europe hosted a webinar on the topic of “The Global Fund in the Covid-19 Era: Strengthening the Role of Communities in Health Systems” in coordination with Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Friends of the Global Fund Japan (FGFJ). This event featured Stefano Vella (Friends of the Global Fund Europe), Erika Castellanos (Global Action for Trans Equality), Dr. Boitaïna El Omari (Moroccan Ministry of Health), Dr. Oanh Khuat (Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives), and Maureen Milanga (Health Global Access Project). Participants discussed the benefits of community engagement in their countries’ efforts to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria, highlighting the value of the Global Fund’s prominent community support role in the lead up to its Seventh Replenishment, which is to be hosted by the United States.
Dr. Vella and Ms. Castellanos began the webinar by acknowledging the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the approaching US Replenishment Conference. As organizations mobilize their respective governments, Dr. Vella shared that it is important to emphasize the Global Fund’s focus on communities and a fully global approach, as it is “the only multilateral organization deeply rooted in the countries (and communities) it exists in.” Ms. Castellanos continued by adding that communities are often at the forefront of health innovation, and that investments in communities are investments in global health systems.
In the panel discussion that followed, Dr. El Omari shared the COVID-19 response in Morocco, where Global Fund support allowed for sustained communication between communities and the Moroccan Ministry of Health, ensuring that people were able to receive necessary treatment for existing conditions even into the pandemic response, which ultimately saved over 27,000 people. Dr. Khuat followed by sharing how Global Fund support and community involvement in Vietnam allows community healthcare workers to reach people in rural and remote areas. Finally, Ms. Milanga ended by discussing the role of communities as advocates for change in the healthcare field, as community members understand the needs of the people better than anyone else.
Mr. Vella closed the webinar by reflecting on the discussion as well as his firsthand experience witnessing what communities can do to help people. Communities, he said, have been key before, after, and during times of pandemics and in pandemic preparedness, and they will continue to be key for all health responses.
DATE: January 24, 2022TIME: 9:30-10:30am EST (GMT-5)ORGANIZERS: Friends of the Global Fund EuropeCO-ORGANIZERS: Friends of the Global Fight & Friends of the Global Fund JapanSPEAKERS:
– Erika Castellanos, Director of Programs, Global Action for Trans Equality, GATE (Moderator)– Stefano Vella, Professor of Global Health, Vice-Chair of Friends of the Global Fund Europe– Maureen Milanga, Director of International Policy and Advocacy, Health Global Access Project (Kenya)– Boutaïna El Omari, Coordinator of the Global Fund’s Program Management Unit, Ministry of Health (Morocco)– Dr. Oanh Khuat, Executive Director, Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (Vietnam)
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