May 28 — The OECS Regional Coordinating Mechanism (OECSRCM) and the Secretariat of Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is responding to the Round 10 call for proposals By the the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), issued recently to ensure the sustainability of the HIV&AIDS programmes within its member states. The Global Fund is an international financing institution that invests the world’s money to save lives. To date, it has committed US$ 19.3 billion in 144 countries to support large-scale prevention, treatment and care programmes against the three diseases. Mobilization efforts have begun with a meeting hosted By the Regional Coordinating Mechanism and OECS Secretariat through its HIV/AIDS Project Unit (HAPU) during the week of May 17-21, 2010 in Saint Lucia. At that meeting the current Global Fund Round 3 Grant was reviewed, challenges and gaps identified, and an action plan devised to support the process. In an effort to ensure member states’ full participation and compliance to the requirements of the proposal submission, the RCM will be soliciting input from countries through national consultations involving various sectors of the population including infected and affected populations (people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), vulnerable groups including men having sex with men (MSM); sex workers; the public and private sectors and other civil society groups. Member states through their Country Coordinating Mechanisms are expected to endorse their country’s contribution to the proposal. With only a three – month preparation time, consultations will begin immediately in the following member states: Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kilts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The deadline for submission of the proposal is August 19, 2010. OECS member states have been previous beneficiaries in 2005 with a 5- year Round 3 Grant which saw approximately US$ 7.5M support for HIV&AIDS programmes. These included treatment, care and support, availability of free antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) and opportunistic infection (OI) drugs; prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programmes and facilities for comprehensive clinical staging and mangement of HIV. The Round 10 funding will focus on the strengthening of the health systems and civil society. Prevention with special emphasis on key affected populations including men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers, and substance users will also benefit from the new round of funding.