In this New York Times opinion piece, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes that people’s willingness to donate billions of dollars for humanitarian relief efforts “is a testament to human beings’ generosity. But that fact of our generosity also explains why I am so frustrated by the increasing opposition in many rich countries to foreign aid.” Gates examines the underlying reasons keeping people “from supporting government investment to alleviate extreme suffering” and counters “the argument that aid doesn’t work even when it gets to its intended recipients” by providing a number of examples of advancements made in global health in recent years “due in large part to aid-funded programs.”
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged $750 million on behalf of the foundation to the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Associated Press reports. Gates said the donation, which comes on top of $650 million contributed by the foundation to the fund over the last decade, “is meant to encourage other potential donors,” the AP notes (Heilprin/Jordans, 1/26). According to the Financial Times, the Global Fund “will receive the money within five years, but with the option to draw on the total amount immediately to cover temporary shortfalls in cash from its other donors, most of whom are industrialized nations’ official development agencies” (Jack, 1/26).
“Are we watching the rebirth of the troubled Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, perhaps in a new, more U.S.-flavored guise?” Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley asks in her “Global Health Blog.” She writes, “The Fund has been in the mire now for some time after revelations that some of its grants fell into corrupt hands, short of money and unable to agree new grants to developing countries badly in need of disease-fighting programs,” adding, “But the dramatic events of the past few days suggest the Global Fund’s fortunes might be on the turn as it hits its tenth anniversary.”
“This week marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — the world’s most powerful tool for improving health — at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland,” Natasha Bilimoria, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes in this post in the AlertNet “Insight” blog. During an announcement at the WEF on Wednesday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will donate an additional $750 million to the Global Fund, Bill Gates said, “By supporting the Global Fund, we can help to change the fortunes of the poorest countries in the world,” Bilimoria says, writing, “He’s right. … In total, the Global Fund is responsible for saving the lives of roughly 4,400 people every day.”
“The global economic downturn and the euro-zone crisis may stand in the way of efforts to reduce poverty and disease around the world,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Wednesday in a talk at the London School of Economics sponsored by the Global Poverty Project, Bloomberg reports. Gates noted that “‘incredible progress’ had been made toward reducing poverty and disease,” and said, “There are many things going on in terms of the euro-zone crisis, budget cutbacks, that would make it easy to turn inward and actually reduce the financing that has led to so much progress,” according to the news service.
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine on Tuesday announced he will “step down in mid-March after leading the organization for five years,” according to a Global Fund press release (1/24). In a message to staff, Kazatchkine said he “concluded that I should not continue as executive director” following a November decision by the Global Fund Board to “appoint a general manager to oversee implementation of the Consolidated Transformation Plan who will report directly to the Board.” The statement continues, “I respect this decision and trust that it was made in the best interests of the Global Fund. … I am committed to an orderly transition, and I will do all that I can to ensure that the Global Fund emerges from it as a stronger organization” (1/24). In a statement, Board Chair Simon Bland said, “I thank Michel for his remarkable contribution and I look forward to working with him to ensure an efficient transition” (1/24).
“As the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] turns 10 on January 26, 2012, Nigerian families should join in the celebration of this innovative initiative that has saved the lives of millions here in Nigeria and across the globe,” Bello Bissalla, project manager for private sector and government partnerships at Friends of the Global Fund Africa, writes in Nigeria’s BusinessDay. “Much of the Global Fund’s success could be attributed to its performance-based financing mechanism, which creates room for transparency in the purchase, distribution and administration of drugs for these three diseases,” Bissalla continues, noting the grant review process “ensures that grant recipients show verified evidence of performance before receiving the next tranche of funding, thus ensuring transparency and implementation of the grant according to the plan.”
A funding shortfall led the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to announce in November that “it won’t make any grants to fund programs for at least two years,” a Deseret News editorial notes and calls on the U.S. to take a leadership position in saving the fund. The editorial states, “Few worldwide initiatives have the success record of the Global Fund …, but those breakthroughs may not have much chance to save many lives,” and notes that the non-profit lobbying group “Results is calling for the Obama administration to assemble an emergency meeting of donor nations this spring to find ways to ensure that the fund and its programs are able to continue and to provide new medicines where they are needed most.”
International HIV/AIDS Alliance Releases Report Examining Potential Effects Of Global Fund Shortfall
The non-governmental organization (NGO) International HIV/AIDS Alliance has released a new report in response to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s announcement in November that “no new grants would be approved until 2014,” VOA News reports. According to the news service, the report, titled “Don’t Stop Now,” “examines the potential effects of the funding shortfall in five countries.”
Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, on Monday “urged Ukraine to step up its efforts to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” calling “on the Ukrainian authorities to expand opiate substitution therapy, ensure HIV/AIDS treatment in prison and increase government funding of anti-AIDS programs,” the Associated Press reports. “‘This is the region of the world — the only region of the world — where the AIDS epidemic is still growing,’ Kazatchkine told reporters in Kiev, adding that other countries have managed to stabilize their epidemics,” the news service writes. “The United Nations says Ukraine has Europe’s worst AIDS epidemic, with 1.3 percent of the population above [age] 15 infected with HIV,” according to the AP (1/16).