Sierra Leone and Global Fund Launch New Grants to Strengthen Health Systems and Accelerate Response to HIV, TB and Malaria

17 June 2024

FREETOWN – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), the government of Sierra Leone and other health partners launched the implementation of two new grants worth a total US$136 million. The grants will accelerate the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria while strengthening health and community systems across the country over the 2024-2027 grant period. Over the longer term, they will contribute towards the country’s goal of achieving universal health coverage and reaching the 2030 targets for Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and well-being for all.

The grants were officially launched on Friday, 14 June in Freetown, Sierra Leone, during a ceremony presided over by Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone. “The grants that we are signing today with the Global Fund will support us to continue the fight against HIV, TB and malaria and to strengthen Sierra Leone’s health systems, aligning with our National Strategic Plan, the roadmap to universal health coverage and our National Health Sector Strategic Plan,” said President Bio. “Together with the Global Fund partnership, we will be able to secure a healthier future for all people in Sierra Leone”.  

Also in attendance were Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health; representatives of donor countries to the Global Fund; civil society representatives; members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism; representatives from UN agencies and health partners; and Global Fund representatives, including Mark Edington, Head of Grant Management at the Global Fund. “We have been working with Sierra Leone since 2005, with investments of over US$500 million in the country,” said Edington. “We commend the important progress made towards targets for HIV, TB and malaria, and we will continue supporting the country to strengthen its overall health system and development agenda through the new grants.”

Both grants – which will be implemented by the Ministry of Health of Sierra Leone and civil society partner World Vision International, with the support and engagement of the communities most affected by the three diseases – are multi-component. This means that they promote an integrated approach to HIV, TB and malaria services through the strengthening of the country’s formal and community health systems, with the ambition of delivering equitable, effective, high-quality health services to the entire population.

On the HIV front, grant priorities include the scale-up of differentiated delivery of antiretroviral therapy and HIV care to increase the percentage of people on treatment from 80% to 98%; the increase of viral load testing coverage to 90%; the increase of coverage of HIV testing for pregnant women; the increase of pediatric interventions and the increase in the percentage of women receiving HIV treatment from 69% to 98%. It also includes interventions to decrease new HIV infections among adults older than 25 years old and HIV transmission in key and affected populations.

For TB, the grants aim to support the enrollment of 90% of people with confirmed TB on treatment, and expand access to TB diagnosis services through mobile vans, community health workers and improved links to laboratory diagnosis services.

For malaria, the grants will continue to support universal mass long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) campaigns, as well as malaria case management, including testing and treatment at health facilities and at the community level. Support from this grant also aims to increase the percentage of malaria cases confirmed and treated by community health workers from 90% in 2023 to 100% by 2027. Additionally, activities are planned to scale-up school-based distribution of LLINs for targeted classes in primary schools from one high-burden district to five more districts. Indoor residual spraying activities in 21 prisons and national psychiatric hospitals across the country are also planned.

These new grants also include funding to strengthen systems for health, which will work in complement with the US$34 million COVID-19 Response Mechanism grant that has supported the country’s response to COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness. Investments include disease surveillance system strengthening, laboratories and diagnostics, medical oxygen facilities, strengthening human resources and community systems, and health product and waste management. 

Over the last decade, Sierra Leone has made important progress in its fight against HIV, TB and malaria. For HIV, the country has achieved progress towards the 95-95-95 targets. From a total of 77,000 people in the country living with HIV, 78% are aware of their status, 97% of those that know their status are on treatment and 45% of people who are on treatment are virally suppressed. For TB, there was an increase in TB case finding from 20,000 in 2010 to 25,000 in 2022. For malaria, there has been a reduction of incidence from 45% in 2010 to 21% in 2022. The reduction of mortality is also significant and continues to decrease.


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