World headlines that outline today’s problems can sometimes seem overwhelming, but this week brought important – and positive – news. World leaders from 25 countries, as well as the European Commission, private foundations, corporations, and faith-based organizations came together to pledge more than US$12 billion over the next three years to support the work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
These funds, which represent a 30 percent increase over the US$9.2 billion in firm pledges secured in 2010, are a testament to the international community’s commitment to turning the tide against these diseases and the Global Fund’s life-saving work.
The Global Fund was launched in 2002 as a response to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s request for a “war chest” to combat three of the world’s deadliest scourges: AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria. Since then, the Global Fund has worked with countries and countless other partners to treat more than 11 million people for TB, to provide antiretroviral therapy to 6 million people with AIDS, and to distribute 360 million anti-malaria bed nets to families.
These efforts are making an impact: The Global Fund’s work has saved an estimated 9 million lives. And combined with advances in science and innovations in how we implement public health programs, we have AIDS, TB, and malaria on the ropes. For example, malaria deaths have decreased by 26 percent since 2000. In the words of Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as she addressed the Global Fund Replenishment Conference, “I ask you: in the history of finance, has any stock offered an investment with richer returns?”
We have a historic opportunity to defeat these diseases – but to seize it, we must keep up the pressure. Otherwise, we risk losing the gains we’ve made.
The resources pledged this week will help us step up the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria. They’ll also help strengthen health systems in developing countries, which will in turn provide improved comprehensive services for other illnesses and a stronger global economy.
Please join us, the United Nations, and all of our partners around the world as we work hard to end these diseases in our lifetime.