Swimming Upstream

Eric Goosby of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has likened the effort to get more funding for HIV/AIDS control in the current economic climate as “swimming upstream.”

Even so, The Global Fund reported that the United States pledged “US$4 Billion to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the period 2011-2013. The pledge is the largest ever by a donor to The Global Fund and represents one of the largest increases by an individual donor country to the Global Fund for this replenishment period.”
The increases did not satisfy all. The New York Times reports that, “AIDS activists vented open frustration, both with the overall result and the American contribution.” The challenge remains that even with heightened funding, the actual amount was just barely able to “reach even its lowest ‘austerity level’ fund-raising target of $13 billion — the amount (The Global Fund) had said it needed just to keep putting patients on treatment at current rates,” according to the Times. This echoes recent reports of inadequate funding to meet malaria targets.

On a positive note, contributions by corporate partners are increasing. The Global Fund announced that, “Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) today announced that it will commit an additional $25 million to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, raising its 6-year investment in the organization to $55 million. This is now the largest contribution from a single corporation.”

Finally, Dr Goosby explained that …

The battles against malaria and tuberculosis will also suffer, but the effect on AIDS is easier to measure. Malaria waxes and wanes with hot weather and local spraying. The TB epidemic echoes the AIDS epidemic because so many people have both, but TB can be cured in six months, which shrinks case counts rapidly.

When the Abuja targets for Rolling Back Malaria were enthusiastically set ten years ago people did not perceive that finance would be a major problem. Even at the subsequent ATM conference in Abuja in 2006 there was more emphasis on capacity building to deliver interventions.  People argue that the global financial crisis could have been predicted, but that does not help us meet current disease control promises and shortfalls.

New donors are needed – greater corporate participation will help as will increased contributions by upcoming economic power like China who pledged $US14 Million.  Also greater commitments by endemic countries themselves will be needed to sustain efforts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.