The five countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) share borders across which malaria continues to cross. While the individual countries have made significant progress in reducing malaria prevalence, remote border areas are now the last mile. The Regional Artemisinin-resistance Initiative for Elimination (RAIE) of the Global Fund for the Fight Against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria brought the countries together to tackle this issue as a region. Under the leadership of the Regional Steering Committee (RSC), the five national malaria programs come together twice per year to share updates, lessons learned and best practices. Regional data is consolidated and shared through the Mekong Malaria Elimination initiative, hosted by WHO, and the community and civil society share their voices and community-generated data through representatives of the Malaria Free Mekong Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Platform. To complete the picture, the Principal Recipient, UNOPS, other donors and technical partners also sit on the RSC, which is supported by a WHO-hosted secretariat.
For RAI4E, HMST worked with the RSC to develop a roadmap to ensure that all five country funding requests and one regional funding request would be completed to a high standard for submission in window 1. This required ensuring that all mid-term reviews were completed (some of which HMST also led), and that each country completed a prioritisation meeting, held community consultations, and a country dialogue meeting prior to RSC meetings. HMST consultants supported each country throughout this process, ensuring technical soundness, compliance with Global Fund policies and templates, and a participatory process.
HMST led the process in line with the “4E+S principles”: Elimination, Equity, Effectiveness, Engagement, and Sustainability. This helped individual countries and the region as a whole to focus, and make difficult decisions, particularly as the context was changing so dramatically with political issues resulting in a resurgence in malaria. As a result, the five countries could come together and present a coherent approach, which was approved by all five countries and the RSC. HMST also worked intensely with the Global Fund country team and the Principal Recipient to review the proposal prior to finalisation. This team effort resulted in on-time submission, and first-round approval by the Technical Review Panel.