Promises Alone Cannot Save Our Lives

30 October 2019

At the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon, France, in October, a group of young people representing youth populations affected by HIV, TB and malaria penned the following response to the open letter to 7-year-olds.

“Promises alone cannot save our lives …

Since the establishment of the Global Fund partnership in 2002 we have been able to save over 32 million lives including children, adolescents and young people who are living with and affected by HIV, TB and malaria. Our achievements as a truly global partnership are unprecedented.

Yet, the room to improve is enormous. A child dies of malaria every 2 minutes. 230,000 children have died of TB or TB/HIV co-infections in 2017. If current trends continue, around 80 adolescents will die of AIDS every day by 2030. We can end this, and we should end this because every life is far too important to be lost.

The open letter to 7-year-olds everywhere promises an AIDS, TB and malaria free world by 2030, a global goal that all of us strive to achieve – not only for us but also for our future generations. Bold promises need bold actions. Children, adolescents and young people are key to fighting this fight. We need to be at the front line as leaders and partners; building a future that we want to claim.

As the world moves toward universal health coverage and greater country ownership, we need Global Fund programs that are implemented smartly, efficiently and for the benefit of affected communities. We call on the Global Fund partnership to ensure maximum impact for every dollar raised and to focus on the most marginalized. We young people want to be engaged in the transparency and accountability of the Global Fund processes. Promises need to be accounted for. 

Conservative laws and policies, stigma and discrimination, gender-based violence and inequalities still jeopardize the lives of children, adolescents and young people. We call on the Global Fund partnership to expand the human rights assessments to all the countries, including legal and policy challenges faced by young people. We want to see the results being used to save lives.

The numbers referenced above are not just numbers. They are children, adolescents and young people. We are TB survivors and affected by TB. We are young people living with HIV. We are young people affected by malaria. We are not just statistics. We are young people. We are here and we are part of the response.

We heard your promise to 7-year-olds everywhere. But promises alone cannot save our lives.

We have to step up the fight. We have to give more.”


Jeff Acaba, the Philippines
Amanda Dushime, Burundi
Zeinabou Idé, Niger
Olya Klymenko, Ukraine
Joyce Amondi Ouma, Kenya
Niluka Perera, Sri Lanka 
Phumeza Tisile, South Africa
Saw Winn Tun, Myanmar