Remarks by World Bank Country Manager Laura E. Bailey on the occasion of the Announcement of the Winning Firm to serve as International Management Organization for the Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance (IBBS) Survey in Papua New Guinea
Honorable Jamie Maxtone-Graham, Minister for Health and HIV-AIDS; Sir Peter Barter, Chair of the National AIDS Council; Dr. Thomas Webster, Director of the National Research Institute; Ambassador Teddy Taylor of the USA and other heads of agencies and diplomatic missions; valued representatives of Development Partners in the IBBS Consortium; Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my happy duty today to officially announce the international management organization that will carry out the Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance (IBBS) Survey here in Papua New Guinea.
Sir Peter Barter has eloquently reminded us why the IBBS is so important. [I would like to reflect a bit on why this effort is being made. Since the first case of HIV/AIDS was registered in PNG, there has been no national population- based survey to define and characterize the scale of the epidemic. Although some efforts have been undertaken in epidemiological and behavioral studies, the scope has been limited to certain sub-regions or sub-groups. This means that our current characterization of the HIV epidemic in PNG is based on proxies, not national population-based estimates.
In addition, the drivers and determinants of the epidemic have not been empirically identified and as a result, the national response over the years has been designed to address a generalized epidemic. These data limitations have reduced the possibility of fully understanding the epidemic, and fully informing developing effective responses.
What makes the IBBS so important is that it will help remove these limitations.]
As Philip Tapo from NACS reminded us, the road we have taken to get to this point has been long, and winding, and at times very difficult. There have obstacles and challenges in our path; storm clouds and thundery rain have obscured our view, reflecting difficulty in communication and in institutional relationships. There have been moments when the path at our feet has opened up, and a large financial hole has appeared to threaten our progress. But we have persevered, and now we are here, at a point where the path forward is clear, and the sun in shining: but NOW the real work begins.
It gives me great pleasure to formally announce that the international management organizations selected to carry out the IBBS survey in PNG, is Family Health International, known by its nickname “FHI 360”.
As agreed by Government and the financing partners, FHI 360 was recruited through a fully competitive process in compliance with the World Bank’s procurement rules.
FHI 360 is a US-based health, development, and research institution, which has provided global technical leadership in public health for 40 years. FHI 360 has managed more than 1,000 HIV surveillance, prevention, care, and treatment projects in more than 70 countries. FHI 360’s multi-disciplinary teams have a long history of success leading the design, sampling, conduct, and data analysis for large-scale surveys, having conducted more than 100 HIV IBBS and Behavioral Surveillance Surveys spanning 40 countries.
In carrying out the survey, FHI 360 will partner with and build the capacity of national institutions and researchers. NGOs, faith-based organizations and Government health facilities will also play an important role in implementation of the survey.
I would like to express our deep gratitude for the continuous commitment and support of Government of PNG, DPs and other relevant stakeholders not only in addressing HIV/AIDS in PNG over the last 20 years, but also in technically and financially supporting the IBBS process from the beginning.
We are grateful to PNG National Department of Health, the National AIDS Council Secretariat, the National Research Institute and the PNG Institute of Medical Research for working hard to see this become a reality. We are also thankful to UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) for their insightful contribution and technical inputs.
For financial support to the IBBS, special thanks to:
National AIDS Council Secretariat (NACS): for US$200,000
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID): for making available additional resources to the value of US$2,625,000 without which the IBBS would not be possible.
New Zealand Aid Program (NZAID): for contributing US$940,000
The World Bank: for US$500,000
Asian Development Bank (ADB): for US$300,000
A special word of thanks to the US Embassy and USAID, who offered at the critical late moments to help fill any financial gaps that might be appearing; in the end, the financing was adequate, but we value their generosity.
In closing, I would also like to briefly mention the governance structure and the institutional arrangements for the IBBS Survey.
The NDoH has primary responsibility, on behalf of the Government, for the IBBS survey, jointly with the NACS. NDoH and NACS are the ‘Executive Sponsors’ of IBBS, with sovereign responsibility for defining the goals and objectives. They are the ultimate decision-makers for IBBS.
Given the cross-sectoral nature of the work and the presence of numerous national stakeholders and development partners, NDOH and NACS have established a framework for oversight of the IBBS which includes the IBBS Management Group, which will provide general management and oversight of the survey, and the Surveillance Technical Working Group advises on technical and ethical aspects of the survey. The Management Group acts collectively to resolve issues, make decisions, and provide direction and guidance, and it has been instrumental in securing the required funding.
The World Bank has been delegated by the management group to manage the contract with FHI during survey implementation, which means that FHI 360 will report directly to the World Bank for all aspects of the contract. In turn, the World Bank will report to the IBBS MG through weekly/monthly written updates and will work closely with NDOH and NACS to ensure the smooth implementation of the survey.
The sun is indeed shining upon us, and the path is clear – but we now face the challenge maintaining our momentum, working side-by-side, to complete the IBBS Survey and ensure that the information and analysis is used to the best possible effect in helping the men and women, boys and girls of Papua New Guinea.
Once again I would like to thank the Government of PNG for their commitment to the survey and all development partners for the constant support; and we wish FHI success in carrying out the IBBS Survey.