Document Type : Perspective
University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
KPMG Health Advisory Services, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Ministry of Health, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Ministry of Health, Apia, Samoa
The South Pacific countries of Vanuatu, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea have ascended rapidly up the development spectrum in recent years, refining an independent and post-colonial economic and political identity that enhances their recognition on the world stage. All three countries have overcome economic, political and public health challenges in order to stake their claim to sovereignty. In this regard, the contributions of national and international programs for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, with specific reference to their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) aspects, have contributed not just to public health, but also to broader political and diplomatic goals such as ‘nation-building’. This perspective describes the specific contributions of global health programs to the pursuit of national integration, development, and regional international relations, in Vanuatu, Samoa and Papua New Guinea, respectively, based on in-country M&E activities on behalf of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) during 2014 and 2015. Key findings include: (1) that global health programs contribute to non-health goals; (2) that HIV/AIDS programs promote international relations, decentralized development, and internal unity; (3) that arguments in favour of the maintenance and augmentation of global health funding may be enhanced on this basis; and (4) that “smart” global health approaches have been successful in South Pacific countries.