The Positive Indonesia Network / Jaringan Indonesia Positif (JIP) and Global Fund Advocates Network Asia-Pacific (GFAN AP) co-organised a webinar on “COVID-19 Impact on HIV Services & Procurement in Asia-Pacific” on Wednesday, 10th June 2020.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) is acutely aware on the impacts of COVID-19 on procurement and has actively responded in creating a webpage that provides updates on Health Product Supply, and is working closely with suppliers and partners to assess the impact on core health product supplies, providing recommendations for implementing partners on how to manage the impact and exercising flexibilities to ensure the continued flow of quality-assured health products.

The webinar was organised to for organisations led by People Living with HIV (PLHIV)  and/or working with and for PLHIV to share experiences regarding HIV services and procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic where many countries in the region experienced various forms of restrictions – including lockdowns and curfews. This created unexpected impacts upon related essential services in accessing HIV treatment, including the procurement of ARVs and related commodities.

Thus the webinar was organised to:

    • Facilitate an opportunity for cross-learning across different PLHIV-led organisations and relevant partners to share experiences, lessons learnt and ongoing challenges to ensure uninterrupted delivery of ARVs and provision of relevant health services to PLHIV;
    • Provide an overview of the current ARV procurement situation in the Asia-Pacific region, including bottlenecks and facilitate a discussion on resolving these bottlenecks; and
    • Strategise medium- and long-term solutions to overcome the impacts of COVID-19 on HIV services and procurement in the Asia-Pacific region.

The webinar provided an overview of regional situation, concerns and challenges, and highlighted opportunities from APN Plus, a regional network of PLHIV and the UNAIDS RST on Asia and Pacific, the leading technical agency coordinating responses on HIV in the Asia-Pacific region. Colleagues from the Grant Management Division working on Procurement also provided an overview of the procurement situation and mechanisms of the Global Fund, as well as shared mitigation strategies. Community representatives from Indonesia, Pakistan and India provided experiences, how they reacted and worked with national agencies ensuring that ARV delivery was continued during lockdowns, and challenges in ensuring that PLHIV are not lost to follow up during these challenging times, as well as anticipated issues on ensuring uninterrupted HIV related procurement.

For more information on specific segments of the various speakers, please see below:

    • Welcoming Remarks from Co-Organisers and UNAIDS RST Asia and Pacific: Rachel Ong, Regional Coordinator, GFAN AP; Meirinda Sebayang, Chair, JIP; Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific  [Webinar recording starts here]
    • Regional Perspectives:
      • APN Plus on impacts of COVID-19 on PLHIV in the region and Emerging Issues: Harry Prabowo, Project Coordinator, APN Plus [Webinar recording starts here]
      • UNAIDS Overall perspectives on COVID-19 in the Asia-Pacific region: Dr Shona Wynd, Senior Policy Advisor, UNAIDS RST Asia and the Pacific  [Webinar recording starts here]
    • Global Fund Procurement: Status of ARV procurement and impacts in Asia-Pacific countries and potential mitigation strategies: Bhushan Shrestha, HPM Manager, HI Asia and AELAC Department, Grant Management Division; and Martin Auton, Senior Manager – PR Services, Supply Operations Department, Grant Management Division [Webinar Recording Starts here]
    • Perspectives from the Ground:
      • Experience of Indonesia: Meirinda Sebayang, Chair, JIP and Indonesia CCM Member [Webinar recording starts here]
      • Experience of Pakistan: Asghar Satti,  National Coordinator, APLHIV [Webinar recording starts here]
      • Experience of India: Daxa Patel, President, NCPI+ [Webinar recording starts here]
    • Discussion: Reactions from Global Fund Secretariat, UNAIDS RST Asia and Pacific, and Participants [Webinar recording starts here]