Global Fund and Ethiopia Sign Grant Agreements For US$ 424 Million

19 July 2012

Grants aim to achieve universal HIV treatment, eliminate malaria deaths by 2015

ADDIS ABABA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Government of Ethiopia signed two grant agreements today for US$424 million with the aim of achieving universal coverage of HIV treatment and completely eliminating malaria deaths in Ethiopia by 2015.

At a signing ceremony in Addis Ababa, leaders of the Global Fund and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health described the grant agreements as a showcase of investing for maximum impact, achieved by thoughtful implementation and dedicated hard work by Ethiopian health officials and staff, with a strikingly positive outcome.

“In the business of investing, results are what matter,” said Gabriel Jaramillo, General Manager of the Global Fund. “From the day when Ethiopia was the first to set the goal of universal coverage, our partners here have shown tremendous courage and vision. It is phenomenal how much they have achieved, and how much more they are now aiming for.”

Ethiopia is widely recognized for its achievements in the health field in recent years. HIV-related deaths dropped from 99,000 in 2005 to 44,000 in 2011, a direct result of expanded treatment with anti-retroviral drugs. There has also been a 50 per cent decline in death rates for children under the age of five, from 2000 to 2011.

Simon Bland, Chair of the Board of the Global Fund, who also attended today’s signings, called the progress “astonishing.”

“We’ve just signed a grant that enables an African country to achieve universal coverage of ARVs,” Mr Bland said, referring to anti-retroviral drugs. “If we had tried that five years ago, we’d have been laughed out of the room. It is astonishing.”

Tedros Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health and chair of the Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism, pointed out that his country’s advances fighting AIDS and malaria excelled because outside support was implemented within a broader domestic strategy to improve healthcare in a sustainable way. That includes the construction of thousands of health centers and the mobilization of thousands of health workers and volunteers.

“In Ethiopia, this money not only saves lives, it also helps us build our system of primary care,” said Dr Tedros, a former Chair of the Global Fund Board. “Family health means national hope.”

The two grants are both renewals of successful programs supported by the Global Fund. The first grant, for US$ 310 million, is geared toward reducing the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS by expanding interventions such as anti-retroviral treatment and outreach that prevents the transmission of HIV from a pregnant mother to an unborn child. It also establishes a fund targeted to help women generate income that can prevent disease, and will help pay for infection prevention materials.

The second grant, for US$114 million, aims at reducing malaria-related deaths to zero in the entire country by 2015. An earlier grant from the Global Fund helped Ethiopian authorities to distribute more than 40 million bed nets. The renewal supports anti-malaria programs including the distribution of replacement bed nets and the funding of health workers in rural areas.

Stephen O’Brien, the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for International Development, who also attended the grant signing, said that Ethiopia’s use of an army of volunteer women to improve maternal health reinforced efforts by last week’s London Summit on Family Planning.

“Putting women and girls front and center is really happening here,” Mr O’Brien said. “That’s a role model we recognize and cite to other programs.”

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