Header photo UNDP/ Grey Díaz

Protecting the most vulnerable in Latin America and the Caribbean during times of COVID-19

Latin America and the Caribbean have made significant progress in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in the last few decades. But the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the region hard, and its indirect effects could allow infectious diseases to resurge.

With less than 10% of the world population, Latin American and the Caribbean had 28% of all COVID-19 cases and 34% of all deaths by October 2020. Since the pandemic began, the Global Fund partnership has raced to support the region’s governments and community organizations to protect hard-won gains on HIV, TB and malaria, and to support country responses to COVID-19.

With communities in the lead, the Global Fund is supporting innovative tools and solutions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. These include digital applications for booking an HIV diagnostic test, video calls to monitor adherence to TB treatment, expanded molecular diagnostics and laboratory surveillance, and protective equipment for health workers who distribute mosquito nets door to door. The crisis has also created opportunities for the region to shift to more effective practices such as multi-month dispensing of antiretrovirals for HIV and expanding self-testing, gains that will stay for programs in the long term. But the Global Fund is also running out of resources to fight COVID-19 and more funds are urgently needed. As economic disruption increases inequality and pushes the most vulnerable deeper into poverty, it is more important than ever to make sure no one is left behind.

Global Fund and COVID-19

Published: 10 February 2021