OECS set for multi-million dollar grant

(May 06, 2015) Six countries of the OECS are expected to benefit from a five million dollar grant from the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. On Monday April 20, 2015, the OECS Regional Coordinating Mechanism (OECSRCM) submitted a funding request for US$5,280,000, a pre allocation made by the Global Fund. Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are to benefit from this multi country grant, which will have a focus on HIV and Tuberculosis services for the key populations of men having sex with men (MSM), sex workers and youth.

OECS Health Ministers were on hand to sign the proposal
Health Ministers from the OECS were on hand to sign the proposal

United and Strong Inc was among the NGOs in Saint Lucia contributing to the drafting of the proposal.

Joan Didier Coordinator of the OECS RCM says the process has been very inclusive. “Over the last year, the OECS RCM engaged a cross section of stakeholders involving civil society, government representatives and key affected populations – among them men sleeping with men, sex workers and youth, in an effort to ensure a true consultative process and also to ensure the needs of these populations are represented.

“The funding request must be evidence based in accordance with GF guidelines. However strategic information is a big gap for OECS countries so the funding request also focuses on strengthening documentation within the health and lab systems.”

She notes that the grant will be significant to the region for several reasons. “Over the years the region has made significant gains in HIV treatment and care, however dwindling financial resources, competing health priorities, and reclassification of some of the countries in the region by the World Bank has restricted the region’s access to donor funding and adversely affected our health systems. Funds are needed to sustain inroads into the prevention, care and treatment or HIV AIDS and tuberculosis.”

Consultant Veronica Cenac with OECS RCM members at GF   grant signing
Consultant Veronica Cenac (front left) with OECS RCM members at signing of proposal

The request covers the following priority areas:

  • Scaling up of treatment and care of HIV and TB, including initiation of treatment at CD4 500 in accordance with the WHO 2013 treatment guidelines
  • Strengthening of Laboratory services for the effective treatment and monitoring of HIV and TB.
  • Combination prevention to key populations
  • Case based surveillance to facilitate strengthening of the health systems
  • Community systems strengthening

Financial and technical support for the development of the funding request was received from the Pan American Health Organisation, UNAIDS, CARICOM and USAID. The development process was led by the Honorable Alvina Reynolds and coordinated by the OECS RCM secretariat with the expertise of Veronica Cenac who was contracted to write the request.

It is proposed that the funds be managed by one principal recipient (PR), the OECS Commission, which was selected following a rigorous open process. The OECS Commission has successfully managed the Round 3 Global Fund Grant for the OECS is currently a successful sub-recipient under the PANCAP GF Round 9 Grant.

The RCM is currently clarifying the queries of the Global fund after which a technical review panel will assess the request. A successful submission will ensure sustainability of the national HIV programs already established in the countries.

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