20 September 2022
ISLAMABAD / GENEVA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved US$10 million in emergency funding to ensure access and distribution of essential medicines and health services in Pakistan. Flooding and landslides in various districts of the country have caused extensive damage to homes and vital infrastructure – including health care facilities – leading to the displacement of millions of people. Displaced and affected populations living in precarious conditions are more vulnerable to infection from communicable diseases such as tuberculosis (TB). Many also remain exposed to stagnant water, increasing the risk for outbreaks of waterborne and vector-borne diseases including malaria, diarrhea and dengue fever.
The emergency funding will support uninterrupted availability of lifesaving health products and ensure continued access to free malaria and TB diagnostic and treatment services for communities through mobile units and health camps in flood-affected districts. The funds will also be used to support indoor residual spraying (IRS), repair and renovate 20 antiretroviral treatment centers in flooded areas, and sustain the epidemiological and entomological surveillance, monitoring and supervision of activities in flood-affected districts. This work will complement current efforts by the government of Pakistan, the Directorate of Malaria Control, Indus Hospital & Health Network, the World Health Organization and the World Food Programme.
Just before the floods, the Global Fund had provided an extra US$18 million to support the procurement and distribution of 6.2 million long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs). Initially earmarked for mass campaigns, these mosquito nets will be distributed immediately to the affected population in camps and other settings. The funding will support procurement of additional LLINs and IRS to prevent outbreaks of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.
The emergency funding and the additional US$18 million come on top of the nearly US$335 million granted to Pakistan for 2021-2023 to support strategic interventions aimed at continuing the country’s progress against malaria, bending the curve for HIV and TB infection, and addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The needs in the country are urgent and severe,” said Mark Edington, the Global Fund’s Head of Grant Management. “Unless immediate action is taken to respond to the flooding emergency, the gains that Pakistan has made against malaria, HIV and TB over the past years are likely to be reversed. The emergency funding that we are unlocking today is a preliminary response. We are now reviewing how we can provide significant additional funding to support the people of Pakistan over the coming weeks.”
The Global Fund has a longstanding partnership with Pakistan. Over the last 20 years, we have invested more than US$1 billion in the country to fight the three diseases, reinforce health systems and provide support to fight COVID-19. Reductions in malaria deaths and new cases have been significant – in 2020, both were around 75% less than in 2011. As of August 2022, almost 100% of people with suspected malaria were receiving a diagnostic test, up from 53% a decade ago.
The Global Fund’s Emergency Fund is designed to support countries when disasters, conflicts or other emergencies are impacting the provision of HIV, TB or malaria treatment and prevention or other health services.