By Fatoumatta K. Jallow

The Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) on Wednesday 31 August 2016 held a national forum on HIV/AIDS, TuberculosisCCM HOLDS A NATIONAL FORUM and Malaria at Kairaba Beach Hotel which was attended by its members and representatives from the government, civil society and private sector and funded by Global Fund.

In her opening statement, Madam Saffie Lowe Ceesay, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, deputizing the minister, said the objective of the forum is for the partners to share their views, suggestions and input on strategies and policy matters that affect the work on the Global Funds mission to make sustainable differences in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

She said, “Thus, a variety of actors must be in the development of proposals and decision on the allocation and utilization of Global Fund financial resources”.

The health permanent secretary said the Global Fund expects grant proposals to be coordinated through a country coordinating Mechanism (CCM) comprising a wide range of stakeholders and each with unique skills, backgrounds and experiences, adding that the CCM will monitor the implementation of approved proposals/grants in the country.

Madam Ceesay Lowe told the participants that the Global Fund grant agreement conferred the CCM with the legal authority to perform its role, and imposes a duty on the principal recipients to cooperate with it in its oversight responsibilities.

She noted that the CCM brings together multiple stakeholders to collectively identify country needs, design programming, and oversee the implementation process. “Therefore organising such types of meetings with the general public is very important in optimizing delivery of care,” she said.

The health permanent secretary said the reports have shown a decline in malaria infection, decreased HIV/AIDS infection and increase treatment success rate among TB patients.

Speaking earlier in his welcoming, Mr. Yusupha Joseph Gomez, Vice Chairperson of the CCM and Executive Director of Gambia Food and Nutrition Association (GAFNA), said section A. 9 of the CCM by laws call for a day long forum to bring stakeholders to dialouge on the successive challenges and implementation on the three programmes that the global fund is supporting in the areas of malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

He underscored the importance of the media in the dissemination of information to the general public.

Mr. Gomez said since the government cannot do everything, it is important for partners to complement its efforts in addressing some of the funding gaps and hence the intervention of the Global Fund which has drastically brought down the rate of infection of malaria.

The CCM vice chairperson also noted their involvement in the monthly ‘Set Settal’ environmental cleansing exercise and other interventions. “The investment the Global Fund is doing now is to provide impregnated bed nets to the general public that will cover a wider range of the population, especially the vulnerable, like the pregnant women and children. It will make a great impact in the socio economic development of this country,” he concluded.