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The Global Fund: An International Institution Fighting Deadly Epidemics
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The Global Fund is an international institution whose primary goal is to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
It mobilizes and spends more than US$ 4 billion in various countries to effectively fight these diseases.
In collaboration with several actors in the field (including public authorities, civil society, technical institutions, the private sector, and diseases victims) the Global Fund tackles the obstacles and encourages innovation for the prevention and eradication of these epidemics.
The institution’s modus operandi is simple. The Global Fund is a “financial intermediary.” It collects pledges from different public and private donors and transmits these funds to different health ministries and local humanitarian agencies. These agencies have a strong knowledge of the needs of their population, and therefore can use funds more efficiently in the long term.
The Global Fund’s Genesis
The idea for the Global Fund came from the minds of world leaders, based on the idea that it was possible to prevent and treat certain diseases if given the appropriate means and experts on the ground. The idea was first raised in 2000, at the G8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan. After two years of high-level talks in institutions and governments, the Global Fund was born.
“When I first mooted the idea of the Global Fund, people said I was dreaming… I love dreams. It always starts with a dream. »
Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations
According to Global Fund, by the end of 2018, health programs supported by the institution’s partnership have saved 32 million lives, and the number of annual deaths due to epidemics has declined by 40 percent since 2002 in countries where the Global Fund has invested.
In recent years, the figures are reassuring, but the fight continues. The number of deaths has halved since 2005 and coverage of people on antiretroviral treatment has almost tripled in the last eight years. Nevertheless, since 2018, the Global Fund estimates that 1.7 million new infections have occurred due to gender and human rights obstacles that limit the sustainable use of health services. Social and cultural factors play an important part in the fight against HIV and cannot be ignored.
This is still the world’s most deadly infectious disease. In 2017, tuberculosis killed some 1.6 million people and infected another 10 million. World leaders have set new objectives to limit its spread and eradicate it. This includes identifying and managing 40 million cases of active tuberculosis and providing preventive treatment for 30 million people with latent infection. Research remains a central pillar to end this epidemic.
The fight against this epidemic remains one of the major public health successes of the 21st century. Over the past 20 years, the worldwide mortality rate due to this disease has fallen by 60 percent. Each year, more and more countries declare themselves free of the disease. In recent years, however, the number of people affected in certain countries has risen. According to the Global Fund, sadly, a child dies every two minutes from malaria.
The Global Fund is an important institution to strengthen global public health systems. It invests in many areas to improve procurement and supply chains, strength data systems, train health professionals, strength community responses and promote more integrated service delivery.
Global Fund Strategy 2017-2022
It is important to adopt a long-term strategy to define priorities among partners in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Timely antiretroviral therapy for HIV can save lives, halts the spread and remains a cost-effective solution. The institution’s strategy has reduced the costs of antiretroviral treatment, allowing several States to administer the antiretroviral treatment to more people. Aware of the fact that testing and treatment by themselves will not solve the epidemic, the Global Fund is committed to improving the scale and quality of prevention and care services.
Further research is essential to the effective control of tuberculosis. As the Global Fund is the leading external source of funding against the various forms of drug-resistant tuberculosis in developing countries, it will continue to work closely with partners to develop new medicines and diagnostic techniques.
The institution has expanded access to long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, one of the most cost-effective tools for reducing the incidence of malaria. In the poorest countries, the Global Fund supports chemo-prevention campaigns for seasonal malaria. It works actively with its partners to improve prevention and treatment tools.
“Building resilient and sustainable systems for health are a pathway to ending the epidemics of HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria and to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3: health and well-being for all.”
Together it is possible to limit the harmful impact of these epidemics and even eradicate them to save as many lives as possible. The founders of the Global Fund understood it, and the institution is doing everything possible to achieve this goal.