EECA countries can achieve great results in fighting the HIV epidemic by optimizing costs. The new joint project uniting 15 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia is aimed at a more efficient redistribution of allocated funds.
“There are resources in countries to finance HIV-AIDS programs, and they are already being allocated”, said Tatiana Deshko of the Alliance for Public Health, speaking at the forum # Partnership. “The main item of such expenses is the procurement of medicines, but, unfortunately, the cost of drugs is much higher than the average procurement price in the world. It can be optimized not just by many times, but by dozens of times, and what can be bought for USD100 per year is bought for USD2,000. Even a small part of the savings due to cost optimization of drugs can cover all the needs of programs for key groups. We built a project for the Global Fund on this idea”.
The project “Sustainability of Services for Key Groups in the EECA Region”, implemented by a consortium of organizations, which includes ICF “Alliance for Public Health”, CO “100% Life” (Network of PLWH), EKHN and the ECUO, was initially planned to be implemented in 9 countries, but soon expanded to 14 countries in the region. It should be noted that at the application stage, national subrecipients were identified. In Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, these are government agencies, in other countries – non-governmental organizations.
The previous project, EECA Cities, which will be implemented by the Alliance with partners for yet another year, demonstrated the effectiveness of focusing on the epidemic concentration in urban settings. In this project, the key priorities will be similar:
“We have maintained the focus on cities, and will also focus on the continuation of funding from the cities themselves”, Tatiana Deshko said. “We chose the 12 largest cities in which, due to the high urbanization of the epidemic, 16% of all PLWH in the whole EECA region live”.
The goals of the authors of the project are very ambitious, but, according to Tatyana Deshko, they are absolutely achievable. After all, funding from local and state budgets is increasing, and the inefficiency with which funds are distributed today has a huge potential for savings.
“The most ambitious and most important of the figures of our project is the level of savings achieved through the optimization of ARV procurement schemes. It is USD 73 million. This is a huge figure, but it is not the limit. When we conducted an analysis for each country regarding the prices for ART, we saw that the savings could be several times higher, because in some countries the first line of therapy is procured at very high prices”, she explained.
In addition, the program expects that the number of identified PLWH in cities will increase by almost half, and ARV therapy will be provided for 90% of this number of people.
Let us remind, that on October 22-24, a regional forum “#PARTNERSHIP in response to the HIV / AIDS epidemic: experience and achievements of EECA countries” is held in Kyiv, which brought together more than 100 interested participants – representatives of communities from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, NGO activists, experts, researchers, health care workers, doctors, scientists, politicians, government officials and representatives of international agencies, initiatives and organizations. The forum is dedicated to assessing progress and existing key barriers which impact the efficiency of a regional response to the challenges of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including: reduction in donor funding for HIV prevention and treatment programs, stigma and discrimination, and criminalization of HIV transmission in several countries in the region.