Malaria, AIDS, TB in retreat: Global Fund

10:26, March 09, 2010      

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Malaria could be eliminated as a public health problem within a decade in most countries where it is now endemic, an international organization that funds the treatment and prevention of killer diseases said on Monday.

The elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- is within reach by 2015, the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said.

And the prevalence of tuberculosis is also declining in many countries, the fund said in its 2010 report.

"A world where no children are born with HIV is truly possible by 2015, the fund's executive director, Michel Kazatchkine, said in a statement.

"It is also possible now to imagine a world with no more malaria deaths," he said.

The fund says its programs have saved 4.9 million lives since it was set up in 2002.

The fund's report celebrates the advances against the diseases, particular scourges in developing countries, since it was set up as a public/private partnership to mobilize resources for their prevention and treatment.

The three diseases are among the largest killers of women and children, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where 52 percent of deaths of women of childbearing age are due to HIV, TB and malaria and malaria accounts for 16-18 percent of child deaths.

But the report also comes with a call for more money.

SUCCESSES

Donors will discuss financial contributions for 2011-2013 at a conference in New York in October, with an initial replenishment review in The Hague on March 24, where the fund will lay out what can be achieved for another $13-20 billion.

Fund officials said the successes of the past decade can only continue if funding is kept up.

The bulk of the fund's resources come from rich governments such as the United States, the European Union and its big member states, and Japan.

Private-sector donors such as the foundation set up by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, provide about 6 percent of funds.

Since 2002 the fund has raised $19.2 billion, of which it has disbursed $10 billion. Half of this was delivered in 2008 and 2009, meaning even more results are due, and a further $5.4 billion of financing has been approved to reach countries this year and next, saving more lives in the coming few years.

By the end of 2009, fund-supported programs had provided antiretroviral treatment to 2.5 million with HIV-AIDS, out of some 33 million HIV-positive people globally, provided treatment to 6 million people with active tuberculosis and distributed 104 million insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria.

The fund does not buy medicine or carry out health care itself but disburses funds to 144 countries, who handle programs, such as bidding for drugs in international tenders.

The fund says its mobilization of such vast sums helps stimulate research into drugs and creates competition, driving down costs for the poor countries who are buying them.

Source: China Daily
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