Global Fund concerned about funding

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The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria wants up to $30 billion (R238 billion) next year to replenish its coffers, but is worried a new funding drive will lag behind growing demand, the fund’s executive director said today.
Since its launch by the G8 club of major industrial nations in 2002, the fund has distributed grants worth $16 billion (R127 billion) in 140 countries around the world, mainly to sub-Saharan Africa where the Aids pandemic has hit hardest.
However, a global economic downturn and recession in the US and other G8 countries, coupled with demand that has “quadrupled”, has raised concerns whether rich countries would meet elevated funding targets.
“My concern is about our ability to scale up because the epidemic spreads faster than our ability to scale up with the funding,” Michel Kazatchkine told Reuters on the sidelines of an international Aids conference in Cape Town.
“I have no signal that donors would take back or would not honour to what they have committed to 2010. The fact is that the demand is much higher,” he said.
Kazatchkine said funding should be available if the G8 countries, which have pumped trillions of dollars to prop up global financial markets and avoid deep recession, honour commitments to double aid to Africa to $25 billion (R198 billion) a year by 2010.
“We are asking for numbers that are peanuts if you look at the wealth that is generated every day in the world and if you look at what the world was able to mobilise to bail out the banks,” he said.
Kazatchkine anticipated a funding gap of about $3 billion (R23 billion) for the fund’s programmes in 2010, mainly for Aids but including TB and malaria.
The three diseases are responsible for millions of deaths each year in the world’s poorest continent.
The fund raises donor money every three years, and in 2007 secured $10 billion (R79 billion) at the last cycle in Berlin for the 2008-2010 period.
The next replenishment takes place in September 2010 and will cover the years 2011 to 2013, said Kazatchkine.
“I would certainly hope that we are looking to doubling or tripling the amount that was agreed in Berlin in our next replenishment conference,” he said.
According to the fund, the programmes it financed have put 2.3 million people on treatment for HIV/Aids, while another 5.4 million people were treated for TB and 88 million treated nets were distributed to prevent the spread of malaria.