20 December 2007
New Delhi - The Director of the Department of Economic Affairs of the Government of India, Mr. Prashant, and the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Dr Michel Kazatchkine, today signed a grant agreement worth more than US$ 100 million for the second phase of a program fighting AIDS in India. This new grant brings the total approved amount of Global Fund resources to battle the three pandemics in India to US$ 492 million.
The grant was originally approved during the Global Fund's fourth funding Round. Implementation of the grant began in 2005. Recently, the grant was successful in clearing the Global Fund's Phase 2 process. The Phase 2 process is designed as a checkpoint in a grant's lifecycle. Funding is initially committed for the first two years of a proposal period. Only those grants with satisfactory performance receive further financing to continue for the remaining three years.
"This is very positive news for India's fight against AIDS and the many people living in the country, infected with HIV and/or affected by the disease," said Dr Abumani Ramadoss, Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India. "These new resources will be put to use in the best possible way, building on the strong performance of the program during its first two years."
The grant's Principal Recipient, the Department of Economic Affairs of the Government of India, will use the money to strengthen and scale up antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programs throughout the country and to increase access to quality voluntary counseling and testing services. Resources will also be used to tackle stigma associated to the disease through efficient communication efforts and to train more health professionals.
"We are proud to continue funding the important work that is being done to provide care and treatment to people living with AIDS and to change social attitudes that leave so many vulnerable to stigma and discrimination," said Dr Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "Stigma and discrimination associated with AIDS in India are still delaying treatment and care for HIV-positive people, and preventing people coming forward for testing. I urge the people of India to step forward and talk openly about AIDS."
Dr Kazatchkine and Mr Rajat Gupta, the Chair of the Global Fund Board, are currently in India to visit Global Fund-supported programs and meet with civil society and government officials.
While in New Delhi, Dr Kazatchkine called for business to become more involved in the response to AIDS in the country. He encouraged business leaders to continue discussions with the government and policymakers that could lead to beneficial incentives for enhancing private sector involvement in AIDS prevention and care. With about 80 percent of outpatient visits in India occurring in the private sector, Dr Kazatchkine also called for more integration between private and public sector health-care providers in India.
Global Fund support to India has provided ARV treatment to approximately 80,000 people living with AIDS and TB treatment to more than 245,000 people. Global Fund resources have also financed the distribution of approximately 1.5 million insecticide-treated bed nets to families at risk of contracting the disease. Important partners supporting the Global Fund's mission in the country include the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Stop TB and Roll Back Malaria Partnerships and other multilateral organizations.
Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the dominant financer of programs to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, with approved funding of US$ 10 billion for more than 520 programs in 136 countries. So far, programs supported by the Global Fund have averted two million deaths through providing AIDS treatment for 1.4 million people, TB treatment for 3.3 million people, and through the distribution of 46 million insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria worldwide.