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Save the Children’s Global Fund Grant: What did it achieve for Nepal?

‘We have reached more than eight million people affected by HIV, TB, and Malaria through a program spread across all 77 districts of Nepal,’ says Tara Chettry, Country Director of Save the Children Nepal.

Kathmandu: Save the Children, as the Principal Recipient (PR) of the Global Fund grant, organized a learning and sharing event to discuss the results and impact of its HIV, TB, and Malaria programs, highlighting key accomplishments and lessons learned from the implementation of the grant. The event was attended by officials from the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), provincial health secretaries and directors, the development partners, civil society organizations (CSOs), and media. Save the Children has been the PR for the Global Fund New Funding Model 3 grants since March 16, 2021.

“The collaborative leadership and guidance from the Nepal government, civil society organizations, and partnerships with local partners and communities are key reasons why Save the Children’s performance in Global Fund implementation has consistently been rated as ‘good’ or better,” said Tara Chettry, Country Director of Save the Children Nepal. “Together with national programs, we have reached more than eight million people affected by HIV, TB, and Malaria through a program spread across all 77 districts of Nepal.”

Strategic intervention in malaria programming has resulted in a 64 percent reduction of malaria hotspots, leaving only 15 active foci in 2023. Furthermore, 16 indigenous cases of malaria were identified in 2023, marking significant progress towards achieving the national goal of reducing cases to zero. The case notification of TB has increased by 35 percent, and the treatment success rate has risen from 89 percent to 92 percent compared to 2020. Program implementation has helped close the gap in the 95-95-95 targets, linking those diagnosed with HIV to the treatment, care, and support.  The national program with support from the Global Fund grant has identified 94 percent of the total estimated People Living with HIV (PLHIV), and linked 87 percent to ART treatment, of which 74 percent have suppressed viral loads. The cash transfer program for children living with HIV (CLHIV) has also been key in ensuring 100 percent ART enrolment for CLHIVs.

Speaking at the event, Dr Tanka Barakoti, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Population, said, “We need to take stock of these learnings and continue the impact and progress being made. The Nepal Government is proud to work together with Save the Children to fight HIV, TB, and malaria.”

“We have provided financial and technical assistance to improve health sector planning, leadership, and governance to ensure that adequate strategies and guidelines are in place, such as the 10-year national supply chain strategy,” said Deepak Paudel, Chief of Party (CoP) of the Global Fund Project at Save the Children. “Investments have been made to improve health systems, including the construction of Provincial Public Health Laboratories in Koshi and Lumbini provinces, medical warehouses in Bagmati and Sudurpaschim provinces, and the expansion of diagnostic facilities such as viral load and GeneXpert sites.”

As part of the grant, Save the Children has supported capacity-building initiatives targeted towards healthcare workers to deliver high-quality services, and has strengthened the malaria surveillance system and logistics management information system and reporting. According to Save the Children, the HIV Care and ART tracker developed under the Global Fund grant has supported tracking comprehensive information on HIV prevention services for key populations, as well as treatment, care, support, early infant diagnosis (EID), and viral load monitoring. This tracker has significantly reduced the duplication of PLHIVs enrolled in ART treatment. The project has also implemented initiatives to address human rights and gender-related barriers to accessing HIV and TB services, advocated for the HIV bill in parliament, and supported the endorsement of a sexual and gender minority policy in Bagmati Province.