In this Financial Times opinion piece, journalist Andrew Jack examines how, “[a]fter a period of fast expansion, and strong progress in tackling AIDS, [tuberculosis (TB)] and malaria alike,” the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “has become a target in the era of austerity. With a shift in power between the world’s traditional and emerging economies, and donors seeking ways to cut support, billions of dollars and millions of lives are at stake.” Jack recaps a brief history of the Fund in the 10 years since its inception; highlights a number of ways in which the Fund has been distinctive from other organizations; and notes several issues that have led to calls for reform within the Fund.
The vision of an “AIDS-free generation” presented in a speech earlier this month by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “is under threat in Congress,” as “[t]he House and the Senate are discussing significant cuts to the 2012 Obama administration request for global health funding,” Jeanie Yoon, a physician with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), writes in a Baltimore Sun opinion piece. Yoon describes an MSF program in Zambia working to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), saying such programs “provide an opportunity for mothers be tested for HIV (as well as other dangerous conditions for pregnant women) and to take the steps needed for them and their babies to live healthy lives; as well as for communities to gain productive members instead of incurring yet more losses.”
While the recent report from a High-Level Independent Review Panel of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “and the corresponding decisions of the Board, mark an important step towards the necessary improvements the Global Fund must make to fulfill its vital mandate in the coming decade and beyond,” “the report does not provide direction or solutions on certain critical issues that will define the further success and impact of the Global Fund,” Richard Feachem, founding executive director of the Global Fund, writes in a Lancet commentary.
Aid Targeting High Mortality Diseases ‘Lays The Groundwork’ For Improving Primary Health Care Services
“In recent years, initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria have helped rein in some of the biggest scourges,” Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. “Scaling up PEPFAR, alongside other health initiatives, would bring a high return,” because “as we deepen the response to specific diseases such as AIDS or TB, we can broaden access to primary health services,” which “lays the groundwork for addressing health problems of all kinds,” he continues.
“Sony Corporation and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have entered into a partnership for the implementation of behavior change projects, in which Sony provides state of the art equipment and movies and the Global Fund ensures it gets to agencies best able to reach communities most…
In response to Michael Gerson’s November 11 column in which he said the end of AIDS is possible because of combination prevention and treatment innovations, David Bryden, the Stop TB advocacy officer at RESULTS, writes in a Washington Post letter to the editor, “Another benefit of [HIV] treatment is that it sharply reduces deaths from tuberculosis [TB], which is the primary killer of people living with HIV/AIDS.” He says that “to fully succeed in Africa, where TB and HIV/AIDS are often two sides of the same coin, we have to quickly identify people who have TB or who are vulnerable to it and get them the services they need,” which also means developing an accurate quick test for the disease.
PlusNews examines Swaziland’s national shortages of antiretroviral (ARV) stocks, HIV tests, and lab tests necessary to initiate and manage HIV patients on treatment, and the country’s efforts to find funding to prevent stock-outs of these supplies. “Despite several bail-outs this year by international donors, neighboring countries and international NGOs, Swaziland remains in the grips of a months-long shortage of lab reagents needed for CD4 count testing, which measures the immune system’s strength and is needed to start patients on ARVs, as well as toxicity testing important in monitoring patients’ responses to treatment,” the news service writes, noting that funding received in April from PEPFAR will help supply first-line ARVs through April 2012 (11/15). According to BBC News, about 65,000 of the country’s 230,000 people living with HIV relies on state hospitals for ARVs (Simelane, 11/15).
“Millions of Cambodians are set to receive insecticide-treated mosquito nets as part of a government-led effort to mitigate the risk of malaria and dengue fever,” IRIN reports. “The nets will be distributed by the National Malaria Control Centre with technical assistance from WHO” and funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to IRIN. “The project aims to distribute 785,000 insecticide-treated nets in six provinces this month, including three of those hit hardest by the worst flooding in more than a decade, and “[i]n December, 1,915,000 insecticide-treated nets will be distributed in 13 provinces, the health ministry said,” IRIN writes. In 2010, Cambodia recorded 56,217 malaria cases and 135 deaths from the disease, according to the news service, which adds “Prime Minister Hun Sen [has] set a target for eliminating deaths from malaria by 2015, and infections by 2025” (11/14).
In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby responds to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech on HIV/AIDS given at the NIH on Wednesday, in which she called for an “AIDS-free generation,” writing that “her vision was an affirmation of the progress made over the past decade, and a mandate to redouble our efforts with global partners to bring the latest scientific advances to bear in order to save lives.”
Global Fund Committed To Transparency In Shift From Emergency Response To Sustainable Funding Mechanism
Natasha Bilimoria, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes about a report (.pdf) issued in September by an independent high-level panel commissioned by the Global Fund in a post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, saying the report “focuses on the Global Fund’s transition from a highly effective emergency response to the three pandemics, to a long-term sustainable mechanism for ensuring that its lifesaving work can continue in times of limited resources.” She continues, “As it heads toward its 10-year anniversary, the Global Fund is embracing the panel’s recommendations, strengthening its commitment to best practices and ‘turning the page’ in its fight against the three diseases.”