In a key development, a global health fund has raised around a third of $18 billion in a bid to mitigate the perils put forth by the COVID-19 pandemic and to tackle other serious illnesses like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, the ‘Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’ unveiled its first private-sector pledge. The fund intends to raise $18 billion between 2024 and 2026, with $10 million from Comic Relief US and $20 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Notably, US President Joe Biden has already pledged $6 billion for the cause.
Executive Director of the aforesaid global health fund, Peter Sands stated that COVID-19-related healthcare disruptions have resulted in reversals in the diagnosis and treatment of other lethal diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. He noted that the need to combat these diseases isn’t going away anytime soon, adding that it has grown worse. Peter Sands added that the donor environment has also changed substantially since the fund reached its $14 billion targets in 2019.
Sands added that the pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine and the mounting economic headwinds are all contributing to the situation. He further noted that when it comes to allocating funds for COVID-19, governments are thinking twice as many countries are currently pledging monetary assistance to war-ravaged Ukraine. He claimed that the recent market losses have also impacted private sector donations and that raising huge sums of money at this point of time is difficult.
$547 million funds for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs in South Africa
In the meantime, two weeks ago, the Global Fund delivered $547 million to AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria initiatives in South Africa and the intervention programs are expected to run from April 2022 to March 2025. The National Department of Health, Beyond Zero, the AIDS Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) and NACOSA collaborated for the initiative.
Dr Joe Phaahla, the Health Minister of South Africa, has pledged to monitor the Global Fund Grant to ensure that it is administered properly and that the country makes optimum use of the funds received. Phaahla made the remarks while officiating the signing of a new Global Fund grant worth over $547 million billion for the country’s response to HIV and tuberculosis for the upcoming three-year cycle, according to The South African.