The Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle examines what it will take for the WHO to reach its new target of reducing malaria deaths to near zero by the end of 2015 and how “[s]ome experts questioned if WHO should be setting such lofty goals, especially at a time of declining funding.”
The Center for Global Health Policy’s “ScienceSpeaks” blog reports on a recently released “Information Note” from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “explaining the Transitional Funding Mechanism (TFM) that the Fund Board recently decided would replace a Round 11 funding cycle. The information note and accompanying documentation…
“Spending to improve health in developing countries has continued to grow during the three-year economic downturn, although at only half the blistering pace it did a decade ago,” according to a report (.pdf) by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the Washington Post reports (Brown, 12/14). “The report details the trends in development assistance for health between 1990 and 2009 from aid agencies and governments in 23 developed countries, multilateral institutions such as the [WHO], and hundreds of non-profit groups and charities with preliminary estimates for 2010 and 2011,” an IHME press release states (12/14). “Overall, spending on malaria and child health problems has grown more rapidly in the past few years than spending on AIDS and tuberculosis,” according to the report, the Washington Post notes (12/14).
In this TIME “Ideas” opinion piece, David Bowen, CEO of Malaria No More, writes that with the right resources and political will, an end to malaria is possible. He recounts progress made against the disease, citing a report by the WHO released Tuesday that shows “deaths from malaria have fallen by more than 25 percent globally since 2000 — and by more than five percent in the last year alone,” and writes, “Despite these gains, much more needs to be done. The unacceptable fact still remains that malaria claims a child’s life in Africa every minute. The world has begun to mobilize the skills, resources and innovative genius needed to end this terrible death toll.”
The 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) ended on Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where “the final plenary session … left the audience with a notion of hope and urgency that despite the Global Fund’s cancellation of Round 11 disbursements, the organization will continue to campaign, raise funds and place pressure on governments in both the donor and recipient arenas,” an ICASA news article reports (12/8). Speaking at the session, “Global Fund Deputy Executive Director Debrework Zewdie felt compelled to reassure those benefiting from the fund,” saying, “‘Everyone who is on treatment funded by the Global Fund will stay on treatment,'” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C (Frentzen/Waswa, 12/8).
In this Toronto Star opinion piece, Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Nicci Stein, executive director of the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, discuss how progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS over the last 30 years “is in peril, due to governments reneging on repeated promises to fund the fight against the pandemic.”
“[S]topping the AIDS pandemic requires sustained engagement from both donor and developing countries, political commitments that are backed by dollars. … Yet many donor countries have chosen precisely this moment to abandon their promises,” they write. They discuss the cancellation of Round 11 grants by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and ask the Canadian government to deliver on its HIV/AIDS funding pledges. Elliott and Stein conclude, “We can turn the tide on the spread of HIV — victory has never been closer. But we need to make sure that those with the power and the money use it toward achieving the goal of an end to AIDS” (12/7).
“A group that tracks funding for neglected diseases released its fourth annual report Wednesday, showing for the first time since 2007 a decrease in government and public spending in global health research and development,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports (Mazzotta, 12/7). The Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases (G-FINDER) survey report, conducted by Policy Cures and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that “[p]ublic funding from the world’s richest nations for research and development (R&D) of new neglected disease products fell by US$125 million (down six percent) in 2010,” a Policy Cures press release (.pdf) states (12/7).
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that donors looking to fund the fight against AIDS “could raise funds through taxes,” according to the news agency. Speaking on the sidelines of the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sidibe said, “If we have a global financial transaction tax, say of 0.5 percent, we will have $226 billion. Ten percent of that resource is enough for financing the fight against HIV/AIDS, stopping the epidemic, because we can reduce by 96 percent the number of new infections by putting people early on treatment. We can have taxation on cigarettes and alcohol. We can find different ways to mobilize new resources,” according to Reuters (Maasho, 12/7).
“With donor support flagging around the world, U.S. leadership is crucial. Congress must fully fund its global health programs, especially the Global Fund” to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Joyce Kamwana, a Global Fund “HERE I AM” campaign ambassador, writes in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” She adds, “Reducing support for global health would put millions of people at risk” and “would deal a devastating blow to the global fight against AIDS, which has reached a critical point.”
This Lancet editorial responds to the 25th Board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held in Accra, Ghana in November, stating, “Tensions were high as the Fund had to make difficult decisions in a year that has been plagued by financial shortfalls, corruption, and calls for organizational reforms. â€¦ However, the Fund remains committed to ensuring the continuation of essential services and to supporting existing grants over new ones to the end of 2013.”