The Third Regional Progress Review and Country Exchange Meeting of the Sustainable HIV Financing in Transition (SHIFT) Program was held on October 3-4, 2018 at Hotel Jen Manila, Pasay City, Metro Manila. Action for Health Initiatives Inc (ACHIEVE Inc.) hosted the event, which was carried out to review the progress of the SHIFT program among four countries in the region (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand) and promote cross-country learning. This is the third meeting following the first two held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in September 2017 and in Jakarta, Indonesia in March 2018.
The event was attended by participants from country partners Indonesia AIDS Coalition (IAC), Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC), Thailand National AIDS Foundation (TNAF), regional partner APCOM, and the program’s principal recipient, Australian Federation of AIDS Organization (AFAO).
On the first day of the Progress Review, the country partners shared their progress, detailing the accomplishments in advocating for HIV financing, as well as future advocacy plans on national and local levels. ACHIEVE Executive Director Mara Quesada and AFAO Chief Executive Officer Darryl O’Donnel also gave their opening remarks, while participants dazzled in their traditional garbs and outfits to commemorate the two-day event.
Later that day, APCOM Strategic Information Officer Min Fuh Teh provided results from a review of civil society organization laws, focusing on registration, accreditation, and resource mobilization, while APCOM Programmes Communications Officer Philips Loh provided an overview of SHIFT strategic information activities and products and how country sub-recipients (ACHIEVE Inc, MAC, TNAF and IAC) could best disseminate and utilize them to support their advocacy. AFAO Program Officer Rebecca Gupta-Lawrence also challenged the sub-recipients to discuss the legacy of the SHIFT program and where it should go.
The second day was used for one-on-one meetings among AFAO, APCOM, and the country partners to address the specific needs of each country. Later in the afternoon, participants visited a local HIV testing and treatment facility, LoveYourself Anglo in Mandaluyong City, as part of the event’s itinerary. They were welcomed by the clinic’s Executive Director Ronnievinn Pagtakhan where he emphasized the importance of a community testing and treatment hub, as well as entertaining the queries and showing the guests around the facilities.
The day ended as participants basked in the local culture, cuisine and music courtesy of Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant in Intramuros.