Yawning $1bn Gap in Global Fund to Fight Diseases

by Tanya Thomas on  May 20, 2011 at 9:51 AM General Health News   - G J E 4
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is facing a funding shortfall of more than a billion dollars, according to an annual report released Thursday.
 Yawning $1bn Gap in Global Fund to Fight Diseases
Yawning $1bn Gap in Global Fund to Fight Diseases

The Fund will need at least 13 billion dollars for 2011-2013 to cover minimum estimated needs, but pledges from donor nations and private sources so far amount to only 11.7 billion dollars, it said.

Costs for detection and treatment of the three diseases could top 20 billion for the three-year period, Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine warned at a press conference in Paris.

Without additional resources, the scale-up of new programmes will be "significantly slower" than in preceding years, he said.

"We need more if we are going to have a world in 2015 where nearly no one dies of malaria, no more children are born infected with HIV and at least 70 to 80 percent of patients who need treatment for AIDS get it," he said.

Universal coverage with insecticide-treated nets in Africa and the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission will be more difficult to achieve, he added.

Donations to the Fund have been undercut by the continuing fallout from the worldwide economic crisis that started in 2008.

Revelations in December that tens of millions of dollars earmarked from programmes in African nations had gone missing have also prompted at least two donor countries, Germany and Sweden, to suspend contributions.

Created in 2002 with seed money from software mogul Bill Gates, the Fund is the single largest source of international health financing for all three diseases, which together claim more than four million lives each year.

In 2009, the Global Fund accounted for 20 percent of international public funding for HIV, 65 percent for TB and 65 percent for malaria.

Last year, it disbursed three billion dollars on these three diseases, the largest single-year payout in its decade-long history.

Source: AFP

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