More Calls for Donors to Increase Contributions to the Global Fund

2. NEWS
29 Feb 2012

Jaramillo says there will be a new pledging opportunity in 2012

Pressure continues to build on the Global Fund and donors to come up with additional funding to enable the Fund to approve new grants sooner than the current projection of 2014. Over the past few months, reports have been issued and numerous media articles have appeared documenting the hardships caused by the Global Fund's decision to cancel Round 11.

In response, there have been some positive signals from donors and the Global Fund, including a promise from the Fund that there will be a pledging opportunity in 2012.

In a report released on 22 February 2012, entitled "Lives in the Balance," Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF), the largest provider of HIV treatment in Myanmar, highlighted the critical need for increased HIV and TB treatment in the country, and called for donors to increase funding to enable treatment scale-up. The report said that the cancellation of an entire round of funding from the Global Fund (Round 11) will have a devastating effect on the struggle to provide treatment in Myanmar.

According to the report, between 15,000 and 20,000 people living with HIV die every year in Myanmar because of lack of access to anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Of an estimated 9,300 people newly infected with multiple-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) each year, only about 300 have been receiving treatment.

Myanmar had been counting on a proposal it had been preparing to submit for Round 11 that, had it been successful and had it been implemented, would have resulted in an estimated 80% ART coverage by 2018, and would have expanded geographic coverage for MDR-TB (reaching 10,000 patients in five years).

In a commentary in The Nation (Thailand), on 22 February, Joe Belliveau, operations manager for MSF in Amsterdam, called on the Global Fund to hold an emergency donor conference so that countries like Myanmar can apply for funding to scale up the provision of treatment.

Separately, in Namibia, according to an article in Africa Review on 21 February, government officials and NGOs were scrambling to try to fill the void left by reduced Global Fund support. The report said that about 50% of Namibia's HIV/AIDS response is funded by international donors.

In addition, The East African reported that health advocacy groups from Kenya and Uganda and people living with HIV/AIDS said the funding crisis put sick people in recipient countries at risk. "Now that it has new leadership, the Global Fund needs to hold an emergency donor conference so it can ensure countries can apply this year for grants to provide life-saving treatment to those with HIV, TB and malaria," said Nelson Otwoma, the national co-ordinator of NEPHAK, a Kenyan network of people with HIV.

Meanwhile, there have been some hopeful developments. U.S. President Barack Obama's proposed budget for the 2013 fiscal year (October 2012 to September 2013) called for a contribution to the Global Fund of $1.65 billion. This is consistent with Mr Obama's earlier pledge to seek $4 billion for the Global Fund over three years. There had been concerns that the president might backtrack on this commitment. (The 2013 budget still has to be approved by the U.S. Congress.)

And there are signs that the United Kingdom is considering increasing its contribution to the Global Fund. In response to a question in the House of Commons, Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said:

"The Global Fund has developed a "Consolidated Transformation Plan" which brings together existing reforms and the recommendations of a recent High Level Panel Report. These time-bound reforms are intended to ensure that the Fund improves its performance and better meets the needs of poor people affected by the three diseases. The U.K.'s readiness to increase its funding to the Global Fund is dependent on the extent to which it is able to take forward these reforms and deliver on the recommendations of the Panel's Report in implementing its strategy."

In addition:

  • On 22 February, El Mundo.es reported that Spain will resume its contributions to the Global Fund. The contributions were suspended in mid-2010, allegedly due to budget cuts. (The Government also said that it will resume contributions to the GAVI Alliance and to the World Food Programme.)
  • On 24 January, Saudi Arabia announced that it will contribute $25 million to the Global Fund. The funds will be paid in 2013. The $25 million is almost as much as Saudi Arabia had contributed for all of the years combined since the Global Fund was established in 2002.
  • As reported in GFO, on 26 January the Gates Foundation increased its contribution from $500 million to $750 million for the period 2011-2016..

Finally, in a letter that was sent to members of Global Fund Board delegations, Gabriel Jaramillo, the Fund's new General Manager, said that the Fund will organise a pledging opportunity later in 2012 where donors "can increase or recommit their financial support" to the Fund.

The statement by Andrew Mitchell, U.K. Secretary of State, is reported in Hansard here.


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