“If we needed more evidence that the funding cuts at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria were going to be detrimental to people’s lives, a new study … makes it clear: Providing funding to fight malaria makes malaria go away,” Kolleen Bouchane, director of ACTION, a global partnership of health advocacy organizations, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “The authors write that as substantial new financial resources have become available to fight malaria since 2000, malaria has decreased considerably in many parts of the world,” she continues, adding, “But in the past, malaria has returned when malaria control programs have been weakened — and they’ve usually been weakened when resources dried up.”
“Although coming off a rocky year in 2011, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is ‘not in crisis,'” Inter Press Service reports, referring to comments made by the organization’s deputy general manager, Debrework Zewdie, at a roundtable hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday. Zewdie noted the resumption of commitments to the fund from bilateral donors, despite the international economic crisis and last year’s allegations of mismanagement, the news service adds.
Wednesday, April 25, marked World Malaria Day, which this year had the theme “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria.” The following opinion pieces address the fight against malaria.
“[T]he newly appointed temporary General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo and his team has moved forward to ‘transform’ the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] with considerable speed and deftness, restoring confidence among bilateral donors (such as Japan and several others) and country recipients as well as improving morale among the Fund’s staff,” Victoria Fan, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog. She explores some of the changes at the Global Fund and how “these changes help the Fund to achieve better health outcomes.” Fan writes, “In particular, I am very encouraged about the prospect of two changes: (1) the creation of a new Division called ‘Strategic Investment and Impact Evaluation’ which will shape the optimal portfolio of investments by country and disease …, and (2) the creation of new committees for each disease (AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria) that will meet monthly” (4/25).
Two separate posts in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog report on the International Treatment as Prevention conference in Vancouver. The first post recaps an update from Stephen Becker of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday “about the Foundation’s treatment optimization activities,” writing, “According to Becker, the Foundation acknowledges that treatment will be at the center of HIV prevention efforts, but ‘no amount of treatment will obviate the need for primary prevention modalities'” (Lubinski, 4/24). The second post reports that, “[d]espite its status as one of the poorest countries in Africa and its failed effort to garner a Round 10 grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — Malawi is moving forward to implement ‘Option B+’ for pregnant women,” meaning “pregnant and lactating women are enrolled in antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs for life, regardless of CD4 count” (Lubinski, 4/24).
“President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney have both prioritized deficit reduction, which, of course, is a worthy goal,” former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), chair of the non-profit Hope Through Healing Hands, writes in an opinion piece in The Week. “[M]any surveys put global health at the top of the list of things to slash. That’s a mistake,” he continues and lists five reasons why global health programs “ought to be spared the chopping block.”
In this post in her Global Health Blog, Guardian Health Editor Sarah Boseley examines the potential impact of reform within the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on the organization’s future. She writes, “It’s been only seven weeks since banker Gabriel Jaramillo took over as general manager of the [fund], but it is already clear the worthy organization set up by Kofi Annan to channel money to treat and prevent diseases in poor countries is a leaner, meaner machine.” She continues, “Jaramillo, former chair and chief executive of Sovereign Bank, brings a tougher attitude to the organization.”
The ONE blog examines how G8 foreign ministers “will additionally prioritize smart and effective global health, agriculture and nutrition plans at this year’s [s]ummit.” According to a statement from the G8 ministers, they reaffirmed their commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, called for an AIDS-free generation, and stated investments in agricultural development show progress, particularly when focused on nutrition and women, the blog notes (4/17).
This post by writer Cynthia Schweer in Foreign Policy Blogs Network describes the recent restructuring of the Secretariat at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with a focus on grant management. The reorganization is “important” because “[a]fter an age of largesse in global health funding, the financial crisis has caused funding increases to come to a screeching halt,” Schweer writes, saying, “Despite commitments that far outstretch current revenues, the Global Fund is still the most viable multilateral providing funding for global health.” She concludes, “Slowing down the pace of progress at this critical juncture will have implications that reverberate far beyond the realm of current programs” (4/13).
Inexpensive Female Genital Schistosomiasis Prevention Could Help Reduce Women’s Risk Of HIV Infection
In this Huffington Post “Global Motherhood” blog post, Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, describes female genital schistosomiasis (FGS), which affects more than 100 million women and girls in Africa and “causes horrific pain and bleeding in the uterus, cervix and lower genital tract, not to mention social stigma and depression.” According to studies, women affected by FGS “have a three- to four-fold increase in the risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS,” but a low-cost drug called praziquantel may prevent FGS “and therefore also serve as a low-cost AIDS prevention strategy if it is administered annually to African girls and women beginning in their school-aged years,” he notes.