Local groups expressed concerns earlier this year that the gains made in the HIV response could be hampered if the Global Fund withdraws its support because of Jamaica’s middle-income status, forcing the country to move away from donor funding to a more domestically funded health response.
Jamaica was upgraded to an upper middle-income country by the World Bank in 2009, putting it at risk of losing the grant funding.
However, Ivan Cruickshank, chairman for the country coordinating mechanism for the Global Fund, told the
Jamaica Observer Tuesday that the grant-funding institution has committed to extending its funding support for the island.
“There was a bit of uncertainty in terms of the replenishment of the Global Fund,” Cruickshank admitted.
At the launch of the institution’s fifth replenishment in September, donors pledged more than US$12.9 billion for the next three years towards ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The replenishment conference raised nearly $1 billion more than the previous one in 2013, with the amount raised expected to save eight million lives, avert 300 million infections, and help build resilient and sustainable systems for health.
The conference was only the beginning of a three-year replenishment period and the Global Fund said then that it intends to actively work to gain further contributions in the coming months and years.
“What this means for Jamaica is that, initially, it was expected that Jamaica would’ve transitioned out of global funding at the end of this grant, but the Global Fund has actually indicated in their most recent communication with us that they are extending that period,” Cruickshank told the Observer after speaking at the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life 25th anniversary media launch at the Courtleigh Hotel in St Andrew.
He explained that the country is now being prepared for the transition through a transition-readiness process.
“… So we are not going to transition at the end of this grant cycle. What we are actually doing is preparing the country in a way that the Government and all the other stakeholders are at a place that the transition can actually begin,” Cruickshank said. “Whether that is another three years down the road, we are not sure yet, but we don’t expect that we are actually going to transition at the end of this cycle which ends 2018.”
Cruickshank, whose organisation is responsible for applying for money from the Global Fund and ensuring that all targets are met and that the money is spent as intended, and as set out in the grant application, said the long-term vision is to stop receiving funds from the Global Fund for the HIV response.
He admitted that he does not know when it will happen but said he expects that it will be discussed in upcoming Global Fund meetings.
“This grant cycle actually ends in 2018 and we have a commitment from the Global Fund to continue funding after this particular grant ends; how long it will continue is to be (determined),” he said