A dozen years ago, working in southern Africa, I witnessed the vulnerability of the poor to three global killers: AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Of the approximately 240 students in the school to which I was assigned, there were 50 orphans. I knew because their names were posted on the door of the office entrance. AIDS had killed their parents.
Local teenagers went out into the bush, taking on the responsibility of looking in on those suffering from TB, making sure they were following the complete treatment protocol. All knew about MDR-TB — multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
My colleagues could not protect their babies from the mosquitoes which carried malaria; parents could not afford the bed nets or the fans to keep the mosquitoes off the children at night.
The Global Fund, established in 2002 to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, has resulted in an effective global response to three of the biggest global killers. The Fund estimates that since its establishment, its grants have helped save the lives of 27 million people who would otherwise have died.
However, challenges remain. Growing drug resistance, shortfalls in funding and wavering political commitment are threatening progress in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Science shows that we can end these epidemics, and the Global Fund is a catalyst, but it must have the resources it needs to scale up its work and reach everyone.
The Global Fund is intended to leverage financing for the attack on these diseases. The GF is multilateral; it is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The Fund raises and invests nearly $4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts.
The Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment Conference will occur October 2019 in France. This replenishment seeks funding for the next three years of critical work (2020-2022). The U.S. has been a driver of and a leader behind the Global Fund’s success, and our government must show up at that table with a strong voice and with a continued commitment.
Please contact members of our congressional delegation — U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte — and ask each to give his support to the replenishment of the Global Fund in the amount of $4.6 billion for the three years, 2020-2022.