09 August 2006
Geneva - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced today that it has received a contribution of US$ 500 million over five years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"The Global Fund is one of the most important health initiatives in the world today," said Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Gates Foundation. "The Global Fund has an excellent track record, and we need to do everything we can to support its continued success, which will save millions of lives."
The announcement comes the week before more than 25,000 researchers, health workers, advocates, and policymakers meet in Toronto to discuss progress and prospects in the fight against AIDS.
"We are extremely grateful to the Gates Foundation for this show of confidence in the Global Fund," said Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "The Global Fund has proven itself to be an effective way to reach millions of people with urgently-needed medicines and other services. This new commitment by the Gates Foundation will enable us to reach millions more."
"The Gates Foundation has played an important role in making the Global Fund the effective and innovative public/private partnership it is today," said Dr Carol Jacobs, Chairman of the Global Fund's Board. "I hope that other donors, especially those from the private sector, will come together to ensure long-term, sustainable financing for the Global Fund."
Since its launch four years ago, the Global Fund has become a major funder of global efforts to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. With grants from the Global Fund, 132 countries have begun to produce substantial results, including 544,000 people provided with life-extending HIV/AIDS treatment, more than 1.4 million people treated for TB, and more than 11 million bed nets distributed to protect children from malaria.
"As we move from crisis management to a sustained AIDS response, we will continue to rely on the Global Fund as the best model to provide strategic and predictable funding," said Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS. "A fully-funded Global Fund is absolutely critical to the AIDS response. Without it, it will be difficult to turn all of the good ideas and strategic plans into reality on the ground."
"The Global Fund has helped drive progress on AIDS, TB, and malaria that was unthinkable just a few years ago," said Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Gates Foundation. "This is a funding model that works, and the need is great. We hope all donors - public and private, large and small - will step up their support and make long-term commitments."
"The impact of the Global Fund can be seen in towns and villages throughout Rwanda," said President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. "Thousands of people who would otherwise be dead are healthy and working to build a better future for their families and our country. The Global Fund has provided us with the support we need to drive back AIDS and other diseases, and I am happy to see that this contribution will help it continue to do so for years to come."
"With the support of the Global Fund, Tanzania has begun to make inroads against the terrible toll of the three diseases," said Lucy Ng'ang'a, Executive Director of the Eastern African National Network of AIDS Service Organizations. "Children are sleeping safely under protective bed nets, TB patients are being cured, and people with AIDS are receiving medications that can keep them healthy for decades. The Gates Foundation's new contribution to the Global Fund will help us to save many more lives in Tanzania, and in our neighboring countries in Eastern Africa."
The Gates Foundation grant is structured so that US$ 100 million will be provided each year from 2006 through 2010. The contributions for 2006 and 2007 will be available to support the Global Fund's sixth round of financing, which is slated to be approved by the Global Fund's board in November.
"With this support, the Global Fund needs an additional US$ 500 million to fully fund all of the new grants that we expect to approve in our sixth round of funding," said Richard Feachem. "With more resources, we can ensure that all high-quality, urgently-needed programs have the financial support they need to save lives."
The Gates Foundation's contribution comes on the eve of the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, the biennial gathering to assess the status of the pandemic and stake out global priorities. Bill and Melinda Gates will speak at the opening ceremony of the conference on August 13.
"The theme of the International AIDS Conference is â€˜Time to Deliver,'" said Dr Mark Wainberg, co-chair of the conference. "The theme underscores the urgency of bringing effective HIV prevention, care, and treatment to communities the world over, and the need for stakeholders to fulfill their commitments, be they financial, programmatic, or political. I applaud the Global Fund and the Gates Foundation for taking the challenge of the conference theme to heart."
Today's grant brings the Gates Foundation's total support for the Global Fund to US$ 650 million. The foundation pledged US$ 100 million to the Global Fund in 2001, and an additional US$ 50 million in 2004.