03 May 2006
Abuja, Nigeria Against the backdrop of the Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Friends of the Global Fund Africa was launched today in Abuja, joining Friends organizations in the U.S., Japan and Europe as nongovernmental advocates on behalf of the Global Fund.
The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by founding Board Members President Obasanjo of Nigeria; President Nguesso of the Democratic Republic of Congo, also serving as the Chairman of the African Union; Nigerian Minister of Finance Dr. Okonjo-Iweala; General Gowon, former president of Nigeria, and Mr. Odumegwu, Chairman of Nigerian Breweries PLC. Also in attendance were Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund, and Friends of the Global Fund Africa advocate Dr. Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba.
Professor Feachem applauded the launch of the Pan-African initiative, saying
The Global Fund benefits enormously by the work of Friends organizations, through their efforts to promote understanding and to mobilize regional support for the work of the Fund. Friends of the Global Fund Africa will no doubt be one of the strong voices communicating to donors the importance of financing to the future of so many Africans.
Friends of the Global Fund Africa was founded in order to create and sustain visibility and awareness for the Global Fund across the African continent, as well as to build political and financial support for the organization.
It was at the 2001 Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, also held in Abuja, that African leaders jointly called on the global community to create a Global Fund to raise and channel large amounts of additional resources to assist countries in fighting the three pandemics.
More than 60 percent of approved grant funds across five rounds are for programs in Africa, and the majority of these support programs for treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund has also become the largest single financier of programs to fight tuberculosis and malaria.
To date, tens of millions of people have been reached with life-saving services: programs in Africa financed by the Global Fund have provided anti-retroviral treatment to 272,000 Africans living with HIV, treated 421,000 people with effective tuberculosis medications and distributed nearly 5.2 million insecticide-treated bed nets to protect children and families from malaria.