08 May 2006
Abuja, Nigeria Last week, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo presented the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria with the AIDS Watch Africa Special Award in recognizition of the organization's significant contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS across Africa over the last four years. Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund, accepted the award which was presented during a ceremony at the African Union Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The honor was among the first to be awarded by AIDS Watch Africa, an initiative established five years ago by African Heads of State during a summit at which those same leaders called on the global community to create the Global Fund. Other award recipients included Ms. Gra ç a Machel and the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa.
"The Global Fund is honoured to be recognized by AIDS Watch Africa through this award," said Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund, in Abuja for the African Union Special Summit. â€œOver the past four years, we have striven to ensure that African nations have the resources they need to effectively combat AIDS, TB and malaria. The $6.1 billion we have already committed across Africa is a strong first step, but we must do much more if we hope to turn the tide of these three pandemics, which are devastating countries throughout the continent.
AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) was founded to set an agenda for top-level leadership to the African AIDS response. AWA was envisioned as a key instrument in the continent's fight against AIDS, seeking to mobilize comprehensive local responses and the resources needed to address the pandemic. In addition, AWA was established to serve as an instrument for peer review, accountability, and measurement of the commitment of member states to the fight against the pandemic.
The Global Fund was formed following the Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, also held in Abuja in 2001, where 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 the Global Fund's current investmets go to support programs in sub-Saharan Africa, and the majority of these are devoted to scaling-up efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund has also become the largest single financier of programs to fight tuberculosis and malaria.
To date, Global Fund-financed programs have reached tens of millions of Africans with life-saving services: 272,000 people have been provided with life-extending AIDS treatment, 421,000 people have been treated with effective tuberculosis medications and nearly 5.2 million insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed to protect children and families from malaria.