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World AIDS Day: Bank, Global Fund Focus on Saving Lives, Stronger Health Systems

David Wilson's picture

On this year’s World AIDS Day – 1 December 2013 –the world commemorates remarkable scientific progress against AIDS and the translation of this progress into saving lives: In the last decade, new HIV infections, AIDS deaths and TB-related deaths among people with AIDS have declined by one- third.

Closer to home, World AIDS Day also marks a new and closer phase of partnership between the World Bank, the largest multilateral development agency, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world’s largest multilateral health fund– a partnership predicated upon the complementary roles of the two organizations.

The Global Fund’s core role is financing of three major infectious diseases – AIDS, TB and malaria – and it relies on its partners, including the Bank, to make the money work. The Bank’s core role is to support countries to make the money work, through enhanced political and technical leadership, strengthened national health systems and wider public sector management, and intensified multisectoral interventions to improve health outcomes.

As our scientific progress and innovation in the fight against AIDS continues apace, the capacity to finance and implement new solutions will be decisive. The Bank’s partnership with the Global Fund (and the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief ) seeks to strengthen country capacity to implement new solutions. This partnership is best summarized with reference to the four strategic priorities of the Bank’s Global AIDS Program, depicted in the figure below:

The Bank, together with the Global Fund, sees major opportunities to strengthen allocative efficiency – to optimize the allocation of resources to prevent as many cases of HIV and AIDS as possible. With Global Fund co-financing, we assist numerous countries to increase allocative efficiency, through strengthened data systems and epidemiological intelligence, better targeting of priority geographic areas and groups and better alignment of proven, cost-effective interventions to match the context of the epidemic.

Our shared aim is to promote a virtuous circle of strengthened national allocative systems, better Global Fund investments, greater synergies between disease investments and systems improvements, and better health systems and outcomes.

The historical neglect of implementation capacity and efficiency underpins the World Bank’s laser-like focus on the science of delivery and is a major theme of collaboration with the Global Fund. In addition, the Bank and the Global Fund are working on several studies to understand the cost, composition and drivers of services and mechanisms to scale-up proven services.

The Bank and the Global Fund are also co-financing several large-scale effectiveness studies. One such study encompasses countries that report declining HIV epidemics. It seeks to verify that HIV incidence has indeed declined, to understand the behavior changes associated with these declines and to identify the program elements that have contributed to these changes, in order to intensify focus on these critical success elements. The two partners are also co-financing a community randomized trial to evaluate the impact of Nigeria’s national sex worker program on HIV incidence among both sex workers and the general population.

We have a shared responsibility to strengthen country ownership, so that key AIDS services are integrated and sustained in national health systems, planning processes and budgets. The Bank is assisting several countries to understand, predict and plan for their future AIDS financing needs.

Our scientific progress against AIDS continues to surpass our expectations. We salute the scientists who have brought us to a vantage point where we can begin to glimpse an eventual end to AIDS. The World Bank and the Global Fund’s shared responsibility is to bring the vision of an end to AIDS closer, by increasing capacity to deliver the promise of these unprecedented scientific advances.

Follow the World Bank's health team on Twitter: @worldbankhealth

Related
World Bank: HIV and AIDS
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
 

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