04 August 2008
2.5 Million Lives Saved to Date
Mexico City – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said on Monday that 97 countries have asked for a total of US$ 6.4 billion in fresh grants to fight the three diseases. This is nearly three times as much as in previous years.
The surge in demand for new grant money from mainly low-income countries provides strong evidence that countries are now preparing significantly to expand AIDS treatment and prevention, mass-distribution campaigns for mosquito nets to fight malaria and TB treatment and diagnosis.
The announcement was made at the start of the XVII International AIDS Conference, in Mexico City this week, where more than 20,000 researchers, health workers, advocates and policy-makers are gathered to discuss progress in the fight against AIDS.
“This record amount of requests for Global Fund financing is tremendously encouraging,” said Dr Michel Kazatchkine, the Executive Director of the Global Fund. “It means that we can now begin to take prevention, treatment and care to an even higher scale. Millions of lives have been saved over the past few years, and millions more will be saved thanks to these expanded efforts.”
Around half of the funding which is being requested is to fight HIV/AIDS, one third to tackle malaria and nearly one-fifth to combat tuberculosis. The bulk of the grant requests – approximately US$ 4.2 billion – are from Africa. US$ 600 million in grants has been requested from Latin America and the Caribbean. This is triple the amount requested in 2007.
“Only six years after its creation, Global Fund-supported programs are making a considerable contribution to beating back AIDS, TB and malaria”, said Rajat Gupta, Chair of the Global Fund Board. “I am pleased with the level of ambition in the countries to further strengthen these programs. The Global Fund is looking forward to support these countries and to scale up their fight against the three diseases.”
The Global Fund has approved grants worth US$ 11.4 billion to 136 countries since its creation in 2002. It currently provides a quarter of all international financing for AIDS globally, as well as two-thirds for TB and three quarters for malaria.
The Global Fund invites low and lower-middle income countries to submit requests for grants in successive funding rounds. Usually one call for applications is made annually. However this year, in anticipation of growing demand, the Global Fund made an extra call for grant applications. The deadline for submissions in the latest round, the eighth in the Global Fund’s history, was July 1. A ninth round will open in October with a deadline for applications in January 2009.
Proposals are drawn up by standing committees bringing together the countries’ public sector, non-governmental organizations, private sector, donor country agencies or international agencies and people living with the diseases. Proposals are screened by an independent panel of health and development experts who send their recommendations to the Global Fund Board, due to meet in November in New Delhi, India, for final approval. In past years, up to one-half of all proposals have been successful in receiving funding.
The Global Fund extends finance on the basis of performance and programs have to meet strict targets in order to secure continued funding. The Global Fund constantly measures results and has initiated a new and ambitious evaluation of the impact of its funding in reducing mortality and illness. The first-ever comprehensive impact analysis of additional funding against AIDS, TB and malaria in 20 countries will be completed towards the end of the year.
The Global Fund supports programs which deliver services to millions of people. The results, delivered by countries and local partners, include:
As a result, more than 2.5 million lives have been saved. These are people active in their communities, working and caring for families and who would not have lived without the help of Global Fund-supported programs.
For the first time, there is consistent evidence from several countries of declines in malaria and child mortality. A significant number of countries have shown declines in malaria cases and deaths of up to 50% where high coverage of effective prevention and treatment occurs, including Rwanda, Zanzibar, Eritrea, Burundi, and parts of Mozambique and Swaziland. Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia have also seen dramatic reductions in malaria mortality.
Over the last year, there has been evidence of declines in mortality among adults of working age, where HIV treatment is scaled up in Africa. In Malawi, there is evidence of 40% declines in mortality in some working populations after HIV treatment, and declines in adult mortality in communities. In Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia hospital beds are emptying for the first time in a decade due to HIV treatment.
Disease programs play a big part in strengthening health systems by building human and physical infrastructure, reducing mortality among health workers and lowering the disease burden on hospitals.
Effective, malaria, TB and HIV prevention provides high value for money. HIV prevention needs to be stepped up in local communities in order to be more effective. All findings suggest that prevention activities at community level need to be more effective.
The number of new TB cases globally is now estimated to be declining, due to progress in several high burden countries including India, China and Indonesia. However there remain critical challenges in sub-Saharan Africa in detecting TB cases in communities, with HIV/TB, and with a global response to multi-drug resistant TB. The Global Fund is the world’s leading financier of programs to fight multi-drug resistant TB.