SOME Pacific countries no longer meet the criteria for financial assistance from Global Fund because they have a low burden of disease and are classified as lower-middle or upper-middle income countries.
This was revealed by Secretariat of the Pacific Community director general Dr Jimmie Rodgers while speaking to the Pacific Islands Aids Foundation's media unit at the recent 43rd Pacific Island Forum in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
He said there were few countries in the region that had high burden rates and were in the low economic grouping, and would continue to receive assistance from Global Fund.
"International funding mechanisms are time-bound. They are also bound-related to the burden of the disease," Dr Rodgers said.
"So for Global Fund, the Pacific doesn't have a high burden of disease. However, the Global Fund support is also targeted, and most of the assistance that the Pacific has been benefiting from includes laboratory strengthening, advocacy, and maintaining support for treatment."
Dr Rodgers said there had been progress made within the region in response to HIV and AIDS, and there were risks involved if most projects and programs under the global fund came to a closure.
"There are risks but the burden of looking after national populations rests with respective governments and when Global Fund came on board with original programs, it was to buy us time to allow governments to acknowledge and realise that these are important challenges for their population," he said.
Dr Rodgers said funds such as the Global Fund and other aid assistance would not continue to roll in, and over time, the region would need to build in a sustainability mechanism.
"We are aware that Global Fund is going, but we are working with other development partners to bridge the gap," Dr Rodgers added.