The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced a goal of raising US$15 billion so that it can effectively support countries in fighting these three infectious diseases in the 2014-2016 period.
The Global Fund is determined to accelerate the gains achieved in recent years against AIDS, TB and malaria through strategic investment in programs that can save millions of lives and tens of billions of dollars in future costs. While acknowledging the challenging fiscal environment in many countries, the Global Fund and its partners point to the remarkable value for money that investing in health provides.
“We have a choice: we can invest now or pay forever,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “Innovations in science and implementation have given us a historic opportunity to completely control these diseases. If we do not, the long-term costs will be staggering.”
President Joyce Banda of Malawi, a leader in efforts to prevent and treat infectious diseases in Africa, said that raising money for the Global Fund was essential to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria.
“The progress we have made with the support of Global Fund and has shown us what we can do when we come together,” said President Banda. “Defeating these diseases is a shared responsibility. African countries are doing their utmost to provide human and financial resources for the health of their people. But we need strong support of the Global Fund to succeed.”
The Global Fund is convening a donor’s conference in Brussels on 9 and 10 April to present an overall needs assessment for the 2014-2016 period and an update on results and impact from recent years, which have helped achieve dramatic success in fighting AIDS, TB and malaria. Donors will be invited to a once-every-three-years pledging conference, known as the Global Fund’s Fourth Replenishment, in late 2013.
Working together with technical partners at WHO, UNAIDS, Roll Back Malaria and the Stop TB Partnership, the Global Fund formulated a needs assessment that demonstrates that raising US$15 billion would lead to a transformative effect in the incidence and death rates of HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria.
When combined with other funding, including an estimated US$37 billion from domestic sources in implementing countries and US$24 billion from other international sources, a US$15 billion contribution to the Global Fund would allow the collective work to address 87 percent of the global resource needs to fight these three diseases, estimated at a total of US$87 billion.
Reaching the Global Fund’s goal, together with other funding, would mean that 17 million patients with tuberculosis and with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis could receive treatment, saving almost 6 million lives over this three-year period. This level of funding would prevent millions of new cases of malaria, and would save approximately 196,000 additional lives each year than with current funding levels by preventing a resurgence and renewed epidemic of malaria.
It would also mean preventing more than one million new infections of HIV each year – saving billions of dollars in care and treatment for the long-term. Antiretroviral therapy could become available to more than 18 million people in affected countries by 2016, up from 8 million in 2012.
Overall, effective funding means that collective efforts can turn what scientists call high-transmission epidemics into low-level endemics, essentially making them manageable health problems instead of global emergencies.
The new funding model recently launched by the Global Fund can achieve greater impact by encouraging ambitious programs and by focusing interventions and financing for specific populations. By reaching highly vulnerable, marginalized and stigmatized groups, including young women, sex workers, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men and prisoners, more programs will maximize impact while advancing human rights.
The new funding model also strives to align investments in HIV, TB and malaria with national health strategies while strengthening health systems and serving as a platform for promoting the health of a person rather than only combatting specific diseases.
“We can defeat these diseases by working with partners,” said Dr Dybul. “Collectively, we know what has to be done, and we know how to do it. But we have to work together to succeed.”