The United Kingdom has announced that it is doubling, from 51 million pounds to 100 million pounds, its yearly support in 2006 and 2007 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a unique public-private partnership created three years ago on the initiative of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
“We warmly welcome the news of the UK’s increased pledge,” said Dr. Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “It confirms the UK’s strong commitment to development and to reduce poverty.
Fund-supported programmes aim to build up a long-term, sustainable effort to halt and reverse the spread of infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS. Resources from the Global Fund go to a wide range of activities, from training and infrastructure-strengthening to help expand treatment and care to large-scale prevention programmes and expansion of testing and counselling.
“The UK’s increased contribution will save hundreds of thousands of lives and enable health systems in developing nations to better cope with the onslaught of infectious diseases,” Dr. Feachem added.
Overall, estimated resource needs for the Fund over the coming two years total $7.1 billion, with $2.9 billion required in 2006 and $4.2 billion needed for 2007. The two-year funding cycles were introduced this year to provide more predictability for programmes.
In addition to increasing their pledge for 2006 and 2007, the UK was one of several donor governments which fulfilled their pledges for 2005 in recent weeks to maximize the United States’ pledge of $435 million. As required by US law, the amount pledged to the Global Fund cannot exceed 33 per cent of all contributions.
The Fund has so far committed $3.5 billion to over 300 programmes in 127 countries. Around 60 per cent of this funding has gone to Africa, and 55 percent to fighting HIV/AIDS. Around half of the funding is being spent on medicines, mosquito nets and other products, while the other half is for strengthening health services.