23 SEPTEMBER 2013, LONDON: The new pledge announced today by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) of up to £1 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) is enthusiastically welcomed by activists who have been calling on the UK Government to increase its commitment.
“The UK Government deserves praise for choosing to prioritise such an important institution at a critical time,” said Aaron Oxley, Director of RESULTS UK, a policy and advocacy focused grassroots organisation working to end extreme poverty. “With adequate funding for the Global Fund, the world is at the beginning of the end of the three pandemics, thanks to exciting new advances in technology and our knowledge of the diseases. The UK has shown a fantastic level of ambition to make good that opportunity.”
The Global Fund is the largest and most important organisation funding the fight against these three diseases. Supporting health programmes in the poorest countries around the world, the Global Fund has saved 8.7 million lives since it was established in 2002.
“Funding from the Global Fund is especially important for the fight against tuberculosis,” said Mr Oxley. “TB still kills more than 1.4 million people a year and the Global Fund provides almost 90 percent of international finance to fight TB. Without sufficient funding to tackle this disease TB will continue to destroy lives and communities around the world.”
This is a welcome pledge that comes at a critical time. The Global Fund requires $15 billion over the next three years to maintain its successful programmes, scale up proven interventions, and fund new programmes that will ultimately bring these three global pandemics under control.
The UK has shown leadership and laid down the gauntlet for others. It is now crucial that donors, particularly Germany, Japan and Australia, take the UK up on this challenge and increase their own commitments to the Global Fund to leverage the full £1 billion from the UK government.
“This great news from the UK shows that, despite the difficult situation of most EU countries, large increases in contributions to the Global Fund are possible. EU countries, jointly the largest donor to the Global Fund, have a moral obligation to help it attain the $15 billion that is needed to save millions of lives,” said Patrick Bertrand, Executive Director of Global Health Advocates France, a non-governmental organisation that advocates for diseases of poverty.
“The UK Government has told the world that we want to be a part of the end of Aids, TB and Malaria. It’s now up to other countries to match the UK’s commitment and ensure we reach the full $15 billion needed to put Aids, TB, and Malaria on the path to being history,” said Mr Oxley.