Global Health Security

The Global Fund / Nana Kofi Acquah

Investing in global health is an effective way to achieve greater security and stability, to protect communities worldwide from infectious disease and to halt emerging health threats. The Global Fund strengthens countries’ ability to prevent, detect and respond effectively to current and emerging health threats.

While preparing for potential and emerging health threats is vitally important, strengthening global health security must start by protecting people from diseases they face today, such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria – three of the world’s leading infectious disease killers. In 2017 alone, HIV, TB and malaria accounted for 3 million deaths. The Global Fund has saved millions of lives since its founding in 2002.

Building resilient and sustainable systems for health

The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa illustrated how weak health systems can be quickly overwhelmed by the spread of a deadly infectious disease. Robust health systems that focus on prevention, detection and treatment are not only essential for ending HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics, but are our primary line of defense against outbreaks, helping countries prepare for emerging threats to regional or global health security. The Global Fund invests about US$1 billion per year in strengthening health systems – from training of health personnel to improved supply chain and data quality to service delivery integration.

Fighting antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance – when organisms develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs – is one of the biggest threats to our future global health and economic security. Deaths from drug-resistant TB account for about one-third of all antimicrobial resistance deaths worldwide. The Global Fund provides 65% of international financing for TB and is a major source of funding for the drug-resistant TB response in low and middle-income countries.

In the Greater Mekong, the Global Fund and partners are supporting a regional grant to tackle the emergence of drug-resistant malaria, which threatens a devastating setback for the region and a major shock to health security. The Global Fund is also putting a bigger focus on resistance to HIV drugs, expanding the newest treatment regimens that are more effective, cheaper, and less prone to inciting resistance.

In our interconnected world of rapid travel, every country is vulnerable to new and drug-resistant “superbugs.” Fighting antimicrobial resistance is a way of improving global health security.

The economic costs of infectious diseases

While causing tragic deaths and suffering, infectious diseases can also hurt economic growth, increase migration and threaten development and stability. There are compelling economic reasons for ridding the world of HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics. Tackling epidemics and building robust systems for health fuels economic development, and in turn allows for greater investment in health, and moves us toward achieving universal health coverage.

  • The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people and resulted in US$2.8 billion in economic losses in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone alone.
  • It is predicted that drug-resistant TB will cost the global economy approximately US$17 trillion by 2050 if the problem is not addressed.
  • WHO estimates that US$4 trillion in economic gains would be generated by eliminating malaria by 2030.
The Global Fund / Sarah Hoibak

People on the move

More people are on the move than ever before, with 258 million people residing in a country other than their country of birth in 2017. This represented 3.4% of the world’s total population. The Global Fund supports innovative approaches to reach people, including refugees and migrants, with prevention and treatment services wherever they go. The Global Fund’s policy on challenging operating environments provides flexible financing for emergency situations to allow a quick response to outbreaks.

In Belarus, strength to stay the course

Drug-resistant TB represents a potentially catastrophic risk to global health security, including to upper-income countries. In Europe, TB incidence rates are generally low, but Eastern Europe’s burden of drug-resistant TB is the highest in the world. In Belarus, more than 38% of new TB cases are drug-resistant. The global average is just over 4%. The journey from diagnosis to cure isn’t easy for TB patients. But they don’t have to make it alone. The Global Fund supports health professionals, community health workers and dedicated volunteers in Belarus and around the world who provide a needed lifeline when the going gets tough.

The Global Fund / Vincent Becker

Microbes do not stop at national borders, so an infectious disease threat anywhere is a threat everywhere. Making our world safer from epidemics means strengthening the capacity of countries to prevent, detect and respond effectively to current and emerging health threats.

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Saving lives today, preparing for tomorrow’s threats

The ability to move people and products around the world fuels economies and drives progress. But it also carries risk, because infectious diseases don’t stop at borders. Global health security means being ready to detect new threats early and prevent outbreaks, and improving our responses to the diseases that kill and sicken tens of millions of people now.