In 2000, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria appeared to be unstoppable. HIV/AIDS was spreading incredibly quickly, taking millions of lives and leaving behind countless orphans and devastated communities. Similarly, tuberculosis was spreading in every part of the world and unfairly afflicting the most harm on the poor and most vulnerable. Malaria took the lives of more than 800,000 people every year, including a disproportionate amount of young children and pregnant women who were unable to protect themselves from mosquitoes or access life-saving medicines.

Putting an end to diseases like AIDS, TB, and malaria takes incredible effort!  It takes more than any one organization or group of organizations can do by themselves.  It takes governments.  That’s why in 2002, leaders from around the world (including champions from governments, private foundations, and the private sector) came together to fight back against these epidemics with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

The Global Fund is an independent organization that combines resources from governments, the private sector, and private foundations to fight HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria and ultimately end all three deadly epidemics. By leveraging diverse resources and working in partnership with local governments, civil society, and the private sector, the Global Fund can maximize impact and coordinate programming beyond what any individual actor would be able to accomplish alone.

So far, more than 27 million lives have been saved in countries with Global Fund investments.

Together with the global health community, the Global Fund has achieved what was once thought impossible. Using a variety of health resources and interventions, such as doctors, nurses, innovative technologies and education programs, the Global Fund is an incredibly powerful tool in fighting HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. In 2017 alone:

  • 17.5 million people were on antiretroviral therapy for HIV, and the number of AIDS-related deaths has been cut in half.
  • 79 million HIV tests were administered, a first critical step in halting the spread of the virus.
  • 9.4 million people received HIV prevention services and programs.
  • 5 million people received treatment for TB, and the number of TB deaths has been cut by more than one-third.
  • 108 million cases of malaria were treated.
  • 197 million mosquito nets were distributed to people in at-risk communities, and global malaria rates have dropped by nearly two-thirds.

This is an incredible story of success, but the fight isn’t over yet.

While we have seen remarkable progress, new threats have pushed the world off track from achieving our goals, and children are still at the heart of these epidemics. Nearly 1,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV every day, tuberculosis is the leading infectious cause of death worldwide with one million children getting sick each year, and a child dies every two minutes from malaria.

It is critical that the Global Fund and its supporters step up the fight now for the millions of lives that are at stake. These aren’t just numbers – they’re kids, families, and communities. Take for instance these experiences from mothers in South Sudan, where malaria is the leading cause of death:

“My baby got malaria when she was a month old. As a mother, I always worry because it can happen again,” 27-year old Esther says, while waiting with her 7-month-old daughter at the Kator Primary Heath Care Center.

At the same clinic, Sabiva’s 4-year-old daughter Angelina isn’t feeling well. “She has fever since yesterday and we found out she has malaria,” says Sabiva, who is also carrying her 3-month-old baby with her that day.

Yet another mother, Susan, tells us about the time her 8-month-old daughter, Amal, suffered a case of malaria that made Susan very scared. She says, “As a single mother, all the burden was on me and it is not easy when your children’s lives are in danger.”

We must work together to get back on track to end these terrible epidemics, and communities like Esther, Sabiva and Susan’s are depending on it.

Now is the time to act: This year, the Global Fund will be hosting their sixth replenishment conference in October. To make sure they can continue delivering vital resources and programs, the Global Fund is asking world leaders and champions to help them meet their replenishment goal of US$14 billion.

With a replenishment of the Global Fund, we have the potential to save 16 million more lives, avert 234 million infections or cases, and reduce the death toll across the three diseases by nearly another half in the next three years. It will also enable greater strengthening of health care systems, reinforcement of health security, and tackling of inequalities in health – including gender- and human rights-related barriers to access, which cause the most vulnerable the greatest suffering.

Traditionally, the U.S. has shown bold leadership via the Global Fund, providing 1/3 of the necessary resources and mobilizing fellow donors to step up to the plate. In the next few months, we’ll be watching for the Administration to make a commitment to the Global Fund, but it’s up to Congress to fund it.

Alongside partners, the U.S. helps save the lives of children and their families and stabilize their communities by playing this crucial role in the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria. The U.S.’s continued leadership and support are critical to the success of the Global Fund.

We’ve already seen what seemed impossible made possible – let’s capitalize on this momentum and #StepUpTheFight to help the Global Fund end HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria for good.

Photo: Susan John, a mother of three, brought her children to the Kator Primary Health Center where World Vision Nutrition team does screening and measurement of children registered in the program. With her is her 8-month-old daughter Amal, who got malaria when she was 6 months old. ©2018 World Vision/Cecil Laguardia.

Leave a Reply

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