REMARKS BY MINISTER OF HEALTH DR JOE PHAAHLA, MP, AT GLOBAL FUND SIGNING CEREMONY, GCIS RONNIE MAMOEPA BUILDING, PRETORIA

12 May 2022

Thank you Programme Director,

On behalf of the Deputy President His Excellency DD Mabuza, let me send warm greetings to all present here today,

I acknowledge my fellow Ministers from other Government Departments,

Ambassadors & High Commissioners,

Development partners,

The SANAC family and Civil Society leadership,

Private Sector,

Members of the CCM,

Principal Recipients, Director-General and all representatives from national; provincial and local level – those in the room and those watching the live streaming. All protocol observed, I greet you and I am very excited to be part of this endeavour

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the Global Fund Signing Ceremony. I would like to take this opportunity, first, to convey my deepest condolences to those who have been affected by the floods in Kwa-Zulu Natal.  We do know that the devastation in terms of lives and property losses is enormous and tragic, we empathise and we mourn with the beautiful Province of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

We are grateful for the partnership that we have forged with Global Fund since 2003. To date this partnership has seen South Africa receiving around US$1,3 billion to fight HIV, TB and Malaria. This is strengthening the country’s efforts towards meeting the 2030 Sustainable Goals.

I would like to thank the Global Fund for increasing the funding allocation for South Africa from US$ 369 million in 2019-2022 to US$ 546 million for the period 2022-2025. South Africa appreciates this continuous support. The allocated funds include the matching funds of US$ 10 million and will support activities to be implemented through AIDS Foundation of South Africa, Beyond Zero, NACOSA and National Department of Health as principal recipients

A surge investment is prioritized for TB interventions, responding to the recent findings of South Africa’s first TB prevalence survey which showed a TB burden about twice as high as was previously estimated.

We thank Global Fund for responding vividly to the COVID pandemic; through grant flexibilities and through dedicated   COVID funds that the Global Fund allocated from 2020 including recently approved fast-track – all amounting to a total of US$ 238 million. The Covid -19 Response funding is contributing significantly to limit interruptions in delivery of TB and HIV services.

Our Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) ensured a robust consultation process which ensured, every province; key population; beneficiaries; constituency; sector had a say in what goes in the funding proposal. The CCM consulted more than 35 entities and over 2000 individuals to inform the funding proposal. This was indeed a proposal for the Country.

Our CCM has been made lean and effective through the evolution process. Our current CCM has managed to prioritize the transformation agenda, about 400 community-based organizations will be empowered and trained to be able to implement our programmes, and 200 of them will be trusted with a small grant. The CCM particularly developed the Sub-Recipient Selection manual which promotes implementation through community-based organizations and balances with performance of implementers to ensure the grant is successful.

The approval of this proposal ushers in innovation for the country. We will explore inclusion of Key Populations one stop shop in Mangaung, West Rand and Francis Baard, to include intersectionality of Key Populations and tailor made clinical and psychosocial services. Noted also is an inclusion of a new program that supports the establishment of a community-led networks for former inmates; Cervical Cancer to prevent and treat cervical cancer among high-risk women and girls; telemedicine (e.g. virtual consults) and an e-pharmacy service which will be implemented especially for clandestine Men who have Sex with Men but also open to all key and vulnerable populations.

Scale up of Opioid Substitute Therapy (OST) is expected through People who use drugs programme, and an intensified focus on Hepatitis C among People Who Use Drugs. For People Living With HIV, I ACT Support Groups are in place for Key Populations and General Population.  The programme would also pilot event driven PrEP for Men who have Sex with Men and Transgender Populations. Support for hormone therapy for Transgender Populations is another exciting innovation in the grant. We will also increase in procurement of digital chest X-ray for TB and a particular strengthening of the Health Systems and strengthening of CCMDD programme.

I am personally committed to ensure that we make the best use of these optimized resources. We will increase our efforts to quickly implement our programmes in HIV and TB to recover some gains which were reversed due to COVID. We will continue to maximize the use of our resources through efficiency measures and further streamline implementation processes and ensure we utilize the funding received efficiently.  We want to ensure we make an impact in HIV and TB by finding the missing patients and put them on treatment.

I urge our implementers to make South Africa proud and utilize the money accountably and effectively ..ensure that services are reaching the communities in need.

Few weeks ago, the country has been interacting with the Global Fund in preparation processes for the next Global Fund Replenish. At least US$18 billion is needed to replenish the Global Fund. South Africa aims to honour its commitment towards the replenishment and urge all other countries to honour their commitments.

I thank you for your partnership; I thank you all for your commitment to the HIV and TB cause. I am excited for the new funding and promise to check in on the grant to ensure we are implementing in a quality manner and absorbing funds effectively.

I thank you.