Watch the Launch Here!
On the World Human Rights Day, 10th December 2020, Global Fund Advocates Network Asia-Pacific (GFAN AP) joined hands with APCASO and the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights (RFSL) to co-host the launch of the “Distanced but not Disconnected: Stories of Community Resilience, Rights and Responsiveness Amidst COVID-19”; a 30-minute documentary, produced by GFAN AP acknowledging and celebrating the extraordinary resilience and responsiveness showcased by the communities affected by, living with and vulnerable to HIV, TB and Malaria in the face of COVID-19.
Featuring five community advocates from India, Indonesia and Vietnam, the Executive Director and the Board Vice-Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), the documentary film sheds light on the outstanding resourcefulness and the ability to bounce back revealed by the communities living with and/or affected by and vulnerable to HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria including key populations amidst and despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency responses from communities strive to ensure that HIV, TB and malaria health services including treatment, prevention, care and support are continued and provided to meet the essential needs of the communities they serve. This extraordinary ingenuity of the communities responding to COVID-19 was met with a similar force by the Global Fund with the introduction of the 5% Grant Flexibilities and COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM); two mechanisms that have allocated more than USD 800 million to over 100 countries where it invests to respond to COVID-19 and continue delivering HIV, TB and malaria services to communities.
Watch the Documentary Now!
While the Global Fund support has significantly contributed to strengthening COVID-19 responses, continue HIV, TB and malaria services, and protect the progress against the three diseases in Global Fund implementing countries, its emergency funds are depleting alarmingly. The Global Fund urgently needs US$5 billion to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the three diseases, defend the progress made on HIV, TB and malaria, boost national COVID-19 responses plans, and urgently improve health and community systems.
The live event was attended by over 180 participants and was moderated by Rachel Ong, Regional Coordinator of GFAN AP, and speakers included:
- RD Marte, Executive Director of APCASO;
- Carl Orre, Policy & Advocacy Manager of RFSL;
- Carl Skau, Head of Department for UN Policy Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
- Francoise Vanni, Director of External Relations and Communications of the Global Fund; and
- Lady Roslyn Morauta, Vice-Chair of the Board of the Global Fund.
Delivering the opening keynote of the event, Carl Skau highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in our societies and the inequalities within and between countries with a major negative impact on human rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights. At the same time, COVID-19 also brought about global solidarity and collaborations. He commended the efforts of the Global Fund through its leadership on the ACT-Accelerator (ACT-A) in fighting COVID-19 and protecting progress against the three diseases which also constituted a model for the way forward in global health.
We are so pleased to be part of this commemoration of the heroes on the ground… because at the end of the day the greatest message I hope we will take home is that in a time of COVID, in a time of pandemic if you really want resilient communities, if you really want resilient health systems the answer is that there is no other way but to invest in effective and strong community systems
Francois Vanni, delivered a message on behalf of the Global Fund secretariat and reiterated that the fight against COVID-19 and the three diseases is one and the same – the lessons learnt from the response(s) of the three diseases must be used to fight COVID-19, and that includes protecting human rights, addressing stigma and discrimination and violence, removing gender-related barriers to accessing health services and engaging communities at the very centre of the response. She further highlighted and thanked the critical role played by communities in advocating and supporting to unite the global fight against COVID-19 to ensure the gains in HIV, TB and malaria are not reversed.
Lady Roslyn Morauta delivered the closing key note, highlighting the need for increased resources for Global Fund COVID-19 responses and extended appreciation and thanks to GFAN AP, partners and community speakers for not only their engagement in the documentary, but the broader partnership and engagement in the fight against the three diseases despite COVID-19. She extended sincere appreciation to the Global Fund partnership and to the donors for their pledges and their trust in the Global Fund not to only fulfil its mandate on the three diseases, but to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Distanced but not Disconnected: Stories of Community Resilience, Rights and Responsiveness Amidst COVID-19” calls for invigorated commitment from the Global Fund partnership including national governments, donor countries, private sector and private foundations, technical partners, and communities and civil society to fight the pandemic and protect progress against the three diseases through increase mobilisation and effective utilisation of resources for the Global Fund.
GFAN AP thanks all participants that joined us in the live virtual launch and all speakers, as well as the colleagues on the ground that have continued to step up the fight and #UniteToFight despite the barriers faced, because when the going gets tough, #HeroesGiveMore.