In this New York Times opinion piece, Paul Farmer, chair of the department of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School and a co-founder of Partners in Health, examines the importance of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as it faces a “serious financial shortfall,” writing, “Beyond AIDS, the Global Fund is currently the largest donor in the world for tuberculosis and malaria programs. … The question is not whether the Global Fund works, but how to ensure it keeps working for years to come.”
“The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has proved to be one of the world’s most important and innovative multilateral funding agencies,” a Financial Times editorial states. Therefore, “[t]he abrupt reshuffle of top management last week” â€“ with the resignation of Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine and the appointment of General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo â€“ “must not distract attention from its achievements over the past decade, which on their own justify further donor support,” the editorial continues. “[T]here is a need to re-examine the agency’s management and operations, particularly when squeezed donors are seeking better value for money,” and that involves “scrutinizing grant applications to ensure its stretched finances go to the neediest: those with fewest resources, the highest disease burden, and policies that do most to prevent and treat infection,” the editorial states.
“The Global Fund’s drive to ensure sustainability and efficiency means that it may not be able to meet its commitments to combat disease, says Laurie Garrett,” a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, in Nature’s “World View” column. Citing his resignation letter, Garrett discusses the “the political struggle” that led Michel Kazatchkine to step down as executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria last week and writes, “It is a classic battle of titans, pitting urgency against long-term sustainability. … Kazatchkine essentially conceded victory to the forces for sustainability.”
In this post on the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, a research fellow and director of global health policy at CGD, explains why the banking background of the new general manager of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Gabriel Jaramillo, “should serve him well.” She says that obtaining the highest health return on investment “requires a fundamental rethink of the organization’s role as a commissioner of or payer for health services and, ultimately, health outcomes. Instead of a passive cashier, the fund can become an active and strategic investor in the shared enterprise of producing health results. And that is a banker’s business” (1/30).
“Hundreds of HIV-positive Kenyans protested outside the European Union’s Nairobi office on Monday, accusing the E.U. of causing unnecessary deaths by cutting funding to” the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, AlertNet reports. Late last year, the Global Fund announced it would not hold a new round of grants until 2014, the news service notes, adding, “The demonstrators called on the Global Fund to hold an emergency donor conference to raise $2 billion so developing countries can apply for grants this year” (Migiro, 1/30). Though no new grants will be awarded before 2014, the Global Fund “has set up what it calls a ‘transitional funding mechanism,’ which covers the continuation of essential services” of existing grants, VOA News writes (Majtenyi, 1/30).
Last week, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The following are summaries of two opinion pieces written in recognition of this milestone.
In an article examining recent developments at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Wall Street Journal interviews Gabriel Jaramillo, the Colombian-born Brazilian citizen and former CEO of Sovereign Bank who will become the fund’s new general manager this week. Following “disclosures of misused funds and a slowdown in global donations,” the “new chief … plans a major overhaul of operations following an assessment urging improved management,” according to the newspaper.
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.”