07 August 2008
Mexico City – A new association which will champion the work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Latin America was launched at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.
Friends of the Global Fund Latin America will be a leading advocate for programs supported by the Global Fund in Latin America. The Global Fund have until now provided anti-retroviral treatment (ARV) for 100,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and HIV tests and counseling for 4.2 million people in the region.
Friends Latin America is the latest such organization to be established since the Global Fund’s creation in 2002 and joins a network of associations around the world including the United States, Japan, Europe and Africa. None of the Friends’ organizations receives any financial support from The Global Fund.
A high priority for Friends Latin America, which will be based in Bogota, Colombia, is to encourage private sector involvement in the funding of programs supported by the Global Fund.
“I want to get private sector co-investment in Global Fund programs. At the moment there is very limited private sector participation in public health in general and in AIDS programs in particular in this region,” said Wolfgang Munar, a former Colombian Deputy Health Minister and Global Fund director, who will head Friends Latin America.
Friends Latin America will also seek to help countries receiving support from the Global Fund to get the best possible results from the grants that they receive.
The Global Fund has already committed more than US$ 1 billion in grant money for programs to fight the three diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean.
About 1.7 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in the region and approximately 140,000 new HIV infections and 65,000 deaths related to HIV/AIDS were reported in 2007. Tuberculosis is also widespread with some 230,000 new cases and relapses reported in 2006. HIV/TB co-infection is the leading cause of death for people living with HIV/AIDS.
A Colombian health foundation, Fundacion Santa Fe de Bogota, will provide administrative and logistical support for the Friends’ association.
To date, the Global Fund has committed US$ 11.4 billion to more than 550 programs in 136 countries to support aggressive interventions against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Programs supported by the Global Fund have provided AIDS treatment for 1.75 million people, TB treatment for 3.9 million people, and by distributing 59 million insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria worldwide. The Global Fund provides a quarter of all international financing for AIDS globally, two-thirds of funding for TB and three-quarters for malaria.