Recently, the Nothing But Nets campaign attended a panel discussion on Capitol Hill which highlighted how some of the global leaders in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria are working hand-in-hand to accelerate progress and ensure sustainability against these diseases.
Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), spoke about how they are developing and implementing innovative solutions to protect U.S. investments in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Combined, these two institutions provide approximately 80% of global funding for malaria reduction efforts.
The global community has made tremendous progress against malaria. According to the World Health Organization, 3.3 million lives have been saved since 2000. The malaria mortality rate among children under five has dropped by nearly half and continues to decrease. Although we should celebrate the progress we have made, we must also recognize that more than 600,000 people die from malaria each year. A child still dies every 60 seconds from this disease.
In order to accelerate progress against malaria, innovative approaches are needed. Recognizing the need to reach more people at risk with limited resources, the Global Fund and PMI, along with other partners, have joined forces to work with manufacturers to lower prices for commodities like anti-malarial medications and bednets. For example, years ago there were over 200 different bednet specifications which varied depending on country and company. This caused small orders, and higher prices. To combat this, the Global Fund and PMI collaborated with bednet producers and buyers to lower the number of specifications down to 12 essentials. Efforts to streamline purchasing processes saved the Global Fund $133 million alone. That means more money freed up for AIDS, TB and malaria programs.
PMI and the Global Fund are also working together to increase the capacity of African countries to buy, distribute, and ensure the quality of medical supplies so that they can transition away from reliance on donors like the U.S. to assist in these tasks. One way of doing this is by creating an online platform that countries can use to independently purchase quality drugs and other medical supplies, like bednets and anti-malarial medications at the lowest price available. Through such a mechanism, countries will have access to low-priced quality goods even after they transition to financing their own disease control programs. Such efforts help to ensure that the progress in fighting these diseases becomes sustainable.
Nothing But Nets advocates for continued U.S. government funding for the Global Fund and PMI because we know these partners are crucial in the fight against malaria. Your voice can make a difference. Click here to find out how to advocate for these important programs.