Forecasts by The Global Fund indicate that $1.6 billion of additional funding will be made available to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The forecast is a positive step towards combating some of the most debilitating diseases in the world. This is especially exciting news since just over six months ago the Fund was forced to cancel any new grants, due to lower than expected donations. So what happened?
According to Gabriel Jaramillo, the General Manager of the Global Fund, the forecast was “better than expected”. This reversal is in part the result of more donations and bigger donations from existing donors, as well as a restructuring of resources to countries most in need. Newer donors included countries such as Namibia, whilst greater contributions were received from Japan and Saudi Arabia to name two. However, this improved forecast is also due to internal changes and Board decisions which have enhanced methods of financial supervision, improved efficiency and encouraged new and existing donors to donate.
The Global Fund has already approved $7 billion in grants to be disbursed over the next 18 months and has set aside $616 million in funding for existing programmes. This additional $1.6 billion will go towards new projects, between 2012 and 2014. At the moment, the Fund operates in 150 countries, providing AIDS treatment for 3.3 million, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 8.6 million, and has provided 230 million treated nets for malaria prevention. One of its many initiatives includes supporting efforts to prevent HIV among street children in the Ukraine.
Earlier this year the Fund celebrated its 10th birthday; we reported on its achievements but also the obstacles it faced due to lack of investment.
The organisation is a public-private partnership and international financing institution, who work to prevent and treat all three conditions. Importantly, projects are based on the priorities of people from the country itself and implemented by them. This is why the Global Fund’s Board reaffirmed its commitment to continue working closely with civil society. To ensure efficiency, The Global Fund provides financing for these projects based on results and performance. This ensures that projects are collaborative, responsive to need, and ultimately more effective.
This extra funding will make a huge contribution towards combating some of the worst diseases on the planet and the outlook will remain positive if this momentum can be maintained. Despite this good news, there are still worries that pledges from donors are insufficient to allow the Global Fund to continue doing its life saving work. Todd Summers, chair of the Board’s Strategy Investment and Impact Committee, was excited that new projects could begin, but remained realistic about the continued investment needed, saying “I remind everyone that we need a lot more money than is currently pledged just to sustain current efforts. While we’re heading in the right direction, there still is a long way to go to meet the real need.”
We, alongside other organisations, have called on governments to commit additional investment so that the fund can continue working towards tackling these diseases. Hopefully a dinner during the September UN General Assembly session, hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, will provide a platform for new financial pledges to be announced. The dinner is in aid of health-related development goals but will have a special focus on the Global Fund. Simon Bland, the Chairman of the Board of the Global Fund, remains optimistic saying, “If we continue to get the support we need, we can make an enormous difference”. We agree and continue to push countries to pledge much needed investment so that the forecast continues to look bright!