Stakeholders Developing Communication Strategy to Improve Management of Global Fund Grants to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in South Sudan

Jan 24, 2017

Participants in the workshop review and discuss the draft communication strategy

The Global Fund County Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) for South Sudan held a workshop to develop communication strategy in Juba on January 12 – 17, 2017. The strategy is expected to address the internal and external communication needs for the CCM in order to improve engagement with its constituencies and stakeholders in South Sudan.

“This workshop is an opportunity for us to improve performance and scale up the implementation of our activities. We are very much behind the schedule of delivery, more than two thirds of the grant period has already lapsed and less than 50% of the grants from Global Fund have been spent. We have identified a number of reasons for that and one of them is inadequate oversight due to poor communication between the Global Fund, principle fund recipients and implementers. For this reason we decided to secure technical assistance to facilitate a review of the grants and assist with the development of a communication strategy to scale up implementation and solve this problem,” explained Dr. Kediende Chong, South Sudan CCM Chair and Director General for International Health and Coordination at the Ministry of Health.

The national programs at the Ministry of Health are specifically working with UNDP and Population Services International to address the needs and treatment services for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in South Sudan. Malaria is endemic in the country which faces 7 to 9 months of rainfall annually, mixed with hot and humid weather, and the population remains largely vulnerable to the disease year-round. In 2016, 1.9 million new cases of malaria were reported, resulting in 749 deaths, according to World Health Organization (WHO). WHO also estimates the incidence of TB in South Sudan to be at 140 per 100,000 people for all forms of TB cases. And according to UNAIDS, 180,000 people in South Sudan were living with HIV in 2015.

“The South Sudan CCM is a multi-stakeholder body that represents the county and works in partnership with the Global Fund and its implementing organizations. The CCM’s role is to mobilize resources, and provide oversight and coordination of the Global Fund activities to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria in South Sudan. According to the Global Fund guidelines and requirements, the South Sudan CCM is therefore responsible for development and submission of the funding requests, selection of the principle fund recipients to receive and manage the funds on behalf of the CCM, oversight of the grant implementation by the principle recipients and sub-recipients, review and reprograming of the grants, and coordination of Global Fund support with other health sector investments in the country,” said Dr. Kediende.

“The Global Fund needs to know your plans and that you are spending the resources in a proper way, but they won’t tell you how to spend it. The CCM and its partners are the ones who decide how to fight malaria, TB and HIV in South Sudan. This strategy seeks to improve internal communication, so the CCM is able to obtain accurate information from its implementation partners about the recipients of its activities, and improve external communication, so the general public is aware of how Global Fund and the Government of South Sudan are combating these diseases,” explained Mr. Obasi Ogbonnaya, consultant for the workshop.

The communication plan contemplates specific resources and deadlines, and contains media engagement guidelines, protocols for engagement with the constituencies and stakeholders, as well as a disaster and crisis communication plan.

“For the CCM to effectively implement the strategy, CCM needs a Communication Officer who will be the focal point in the Secretariat for partners to share information about their activities. This is very important to make public aware of how Global Fund resources have been spent and areas of action which are necessary to relocate new resources,” says Dr. Kediende.

Once this communication strategy is validated and approved by the CCM members, the implementation plan will be included in the overall CCM funding application to be shared with the Global Fund and partners for funding.