“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.”
Programs, Funding & Financing
“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.
“Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned it may downgrade ‘a number of highly rated’ Group of 20 [G20] countries from 2015 if their governments fail to enact reforms to curb rising health care spending and other costs related to aging populations,” Reuters reports. “Developed nations in Europe, as well as Japan and the United States, are likely to suffer the largest deterioration in their public finances in the next four decades as more elderly strain social safety nets, S&P said in a report,” the news agency writes (Hopfner et al., 1/31).
In this post on the Global Health Technologies Coalition’s (GHTC) “Breakthroughs” blog, “Ashley Bennett, senior policy associate at the GHTC, offered her take on President Obama’s State of the Union address, including his emphasis on research and innovation.” She writes, “While the President was not as focused on using science to help the United States out-innovate the rest of the world as he was during last year’s State of the Union address, he did re-commit his administration to harnessing the strength of innovation to create an ‘America built to last,'” adding, “He also urged Congress not to cut parts of the budget that will hurt the promise of science and technology” (Bennett, 1/27).
In this AlertNet commentary, GAVI Alliance CEO Seth Berkley discusses how “public-private partnership is part of the GAVI Alliance’s formula for success that has helped countries to immunize 325 million children in our first 10 years, saving more than 5.5 million lives.” Writing last week from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Berkley says, “In fact, public-private partnerships are part of what brings me to Davos this week.”
During a webinar Thursday hosted by the Health Global Access Project, AVAC, and amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research), John Blandford, chief of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS Health Economics, Systems and Integration Branch, presented findings showing “that scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention in the developing world not only saves lives, but saves money too,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports. According to the blog, “[Blandford] and his team of colleagues have found that cost savings from averted negative outcomes offset a major portion of the cost of treatment over time.” The blog quotes Blandford saying, “Based on [WHO] standards, ART should be considered highly cost-effective in almost every country in sub-Saharan Africa” (Mazzotta, 1/27).
Speaking on Saturday at the African Union Summit, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said huge advances in HIV treatment and prevention have been made over the past decade in Africa, “[b]ut these gains ‘are not sustainable,’ … because they are heavily dependent on foreign aid,” the Zimbabwean reports (1/30). “An estimated two-thirds of AIDS expenditures in Africa come from international funding sources, according to a new UNAIDS issues brief titled “AIDS dependency crisis: sourcing African solutions” (.pdf), Xinhua writes (1/29).
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and the new chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece about Africa’s efforts in the fight against malaria. “Supported by the lessons learned from the decade to ‘roll back malaria,’ which produced a 33 percent decline in malaria deaths in Africa between 2000 and 2010, 41 African presidents have now signed on to end deaths from the disease in their home countries as part of [ALMA],” she writes. But “[d]espite this encouraging progress, much work remains to be done,” she continues.
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.