October 6, 2010

Global Fund Receives $4 Billion From US To Fight Aids

A record four billion dollars over a three year period has been pledged by the Obama administration to go to a global fund dedicated to fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

But non-governmental group, Health GAP, expressed "profound disappointment" with the pledge, saying it fell two billion dollars short of what Democratic supporters were asking for.

The pledge came in New York where more than 40 countries, foundations and corporations gathered to replenish the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria for 2011 through 2013.

"The Obama administration intends to seek four billion dollars for the Fund for 2011 through 2013 to continue America's strong support for this important multilateral partner," said the US State Dept. in a statement.

This is "an unprecedented three-year pledge of support" said the State Department. The pledge was a 38 percent increase in US investment over the previous three-year period, it said.

The increased pledge is aimed at saving more lives "by driving needed reforms and ensuring smart, effective investments are being made," it said, adding the pledge also "serves as a challenge to other donors," encouraging them to match the US pledge.

The Global Fund believes that with the new US pledge and contributions from others, it should be able to put 4.4 million people infected with AIDS "on antiretroviral therapy, up from 2.5 million at the end of 2009," according to the State Department.

It also believes it will be possible to provide 2.5 million orphans and vulnerable children with annual support, up from 1.4 million last year.

As many as 610,000 HIV-positive pregnant women annually will be able to receive services to prevent mother-to-child transmission. It will also be able to offer nearly 4 million tuberculosis treatments annually, up from 1.4 million in 2009. And it will also be able to distribute 110 million insecticide-treated bed nets to help prevent malaria, up from 34 million in 2009.

"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 Global Fund said in a statement.

The United States remains the largest donor to the Global Fund "with an accumulated pledged amount of US 10.5 billion dollars since the organization's creation in 2002," it added.

"Through this three-year pledge, the United States has shown its strong commitment towards the international efforts to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," Michel Kazatchkine, director of the Global Fund, said in a statement. "This is very welcome and sends a strong signal to other donors that the United States is committed to leading a global struggle against infectious diseases."

But Health GAP criticized the Obama administration for its so-called small pledge.

"The president had the opportunity to lead the world toward sufficient funding for AIDS and failed to do so," it said.

More than a hundred members of the president's own Democratic party had asked him to make a six billion dollar pledge, and said it was "gravely concerned" that the size of the pledge will require the Global Fund to scale back its fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, said Health GAP.


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