NEW FUNDS FOR STRENGTHENING THE NATIONAL RESPONSE TO HIV TO SUPPORT EGYPT’S MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND UNDP

  • By ; Basel Khaled

     

     

    Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced the award of a new grant totalling the amount of USD 11.2 M, of which USD 5.2M to strengthen national efforts to improve the lives of people living with HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and  USD 5.9M to  mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the country in general and on the two diseases response in specific.

    Provided by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), the grant will support a three-year programme (April 2022-March 2025) focused on ensuring better access to HIV-related services, including prevention, testing and treatment services for the most at-risk groups and strengthen TB case findings, notifications, and access to anti-TB treatment to contribute to MoHP efforts to eliminate TB as a public health threat by 2030.

    Key aims of the programme include improving the provision of HIV-related strategic information, improving HIV multisectoral engagement, and improving rates of treatment adherence among HIV patients.

    To reduce the social stigma surrounding HIV and TB, the programme will include awareness-raising strategies targeted at healthcare workers, the media, religious leaders, and other influential actors.

    Taking detection and monitoring to a new level, the programme will focus on detecting active TB cases in five of Egypt’s governorates with the highest rates of transmission, namely Alexandria, Asyut, Cairo, Sharqia, and Sohag. These efforts will focus especially on vulnerable populations, including migrants, refugees, factory workers and people in prison. 

    The new programme will contribute to strengthening the country’s HIV monitoring and evaluation systems to allow early detection and enrolment of treatment for people living with HIV. It will also support the National TB Program efforts to address the issue of Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) through the expansion of molecular testing and stronger collaboration between the national programme and the private sector, academia, the National Health Insurance Organization, and general hospitals. 

    By targeting groups and individuals most vulnerable to HIV and affected by TB, the programme will support Egypt’s fulfilment of the agenda 2030 aim of ‘leaving no one behind’ and further contribute to its National Strategic Plans for HIV and TB.

    Importantly, the Global Fund-backed programme will also include a project to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on Egypt’s healthcare system. This project will strengthen the sectors’ tracing and testing capacities and improve the preparedness of hospitals for future pandemic waves.

    The programme will be implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the National AIDS Programme and the National TB Program of Egypt’s Ministry of Health and in collaboration with civil society organizations in eight of the country’s governorates.

    The joint efforts of Egypt’s Ministry of Health and UNDP have already helped improve the lives of approximately 14,260 individuals among people living with HIV and those who are affected by TB. With the programme announced, this collaboration will again help ensure a healthier, safer, and more equitable future for all.

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