$2.75 billion for AIDS, TB and malaria

As this pleasantly concise and informative AP article explains, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria recently approved $2.75 billion in grants to be spent fighting three diseases that continue to have devestating impacts on the developing world.  The announcement was made on Monday, after the Global Fund’s board met in New Delhi over the weekend.

>> Read the press release

Here’s a quick breakdown of how the grant money will be distributed:

  • 51% to malaria  –  38% to AIDS  –  11% to TB
  • 90% to be spent in low-income countries
  • 77% to Africa and the Middle East
  • Programs to operate in 140 countries

This $2.75 billion is the largest amount of new grant money approved by the Global Fund since it was founded in 2001.  These new grants bring the Global Fund’s total portfolio to $14.4 billion.

The Global Fund is a unique, independent organization that exists primarily to raise money and redistribute it.  Essentially, concerned parties donate to the Global Fund, which distributes the money in the form of grants to smaller, on-the-ground programs (government organizations and/or NGOs) that meet specific performance standards established by the Fund.  Donors include governments, private organizations, and individuals.   >> Learn more on the Global Fund’s website.

A few thoughts on this news:

I’d be interested to learn the thought process behind how the money was divided between the three target diseases.  I actually think it’s good to see so much emphasis on malaria in this round, because malaria tends to have a much lower profile than HIV/AIDS, yet is both incredibly deadly and incredibly preventable (as Stephen Colbert recently learned).  HIV/AIDS programs have received the largest share of Global Fund money — by a significant margin — in the previous seven rounds of funding.  It’s interesting to see the shift this year.  My guess would be that the congressional approval of expanded PEPFAR funding earlier this year has something to do with it (that is, I should be clear, just a guess).  Malaria is probably the easiest to deal with of the three diseases targetted by the Global Fund: to a large extent, experts know what needs to be done, they just need the resources to do more of it.

It really makes me happy to hear that the Global Fund is able to disburse the largest amount of new grant money in its history this year — it gives me some hope that critical health and development efforts will be sustained, despite the disastrous economic news we’ve been hearing lately.  Of course, the Fund probably had at least most of that money before things got really grim . . . but still, it’s good news, and we could all use some of that.

On the other hand . . . let’s make a little comparison.  Global Fund disbursement over 2 years: $2.75 billion.  Much-hyped US “bailout” package for banks and other businesses: $700 billion (and who knows how much more to come).  Wow.  I don’t even know what to say about those numbers.  But they speak volumes by themselves.

I’ll give the last word to Michel Kazatchkine, the Global Fund’s Executive Director:

“This exceptional expression of increased demand requires a renewed resource mobilization effort. […] We have a fantastic message to bring back to the rich nations of the world: Programs to fight these three diseases save lives, reduce disease burdens, and strengthen health systems. We are asking you for resources for an effective way to reduce the gap between rich and poor and build a better and safer world.”

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~ by h.e.g. on November 13, 2008.

One Response to “$2.75 billion for AIDS, TB and malaria”

  1. I think all money going towards these causes is well needed and is being well spent. Any way we are able to prevent more cases from occurring or possibly even someday find a way to stop these diseases from spreading completely is a good thing in my book. Although I also found it interesting more money is being spent for the Malaria cause. It is estimated 1 million people die from Malaria each year, while the average who die from AIDS each year is around 2-3 million. Maybe we should decide which cause could use the extra funding.

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