The outcome of the Global Fund Replenishment meeting this week disappointed many. While it appears that the Fund might have enough to finance Round Ten, the next round of grant making, it is hard to see how it will be able to approve new grants that gain the approval of the Technical Review Panel. That means a massive slowdown in the pace of the expansion of health programs, unless more pledges come in, a situation that was discussed this week on NPR’s Tell Me More.
In the lead up to the meeting, advocates in developing countries put together a smart new video calling on the donors to keep their promises:
Since the Fund is the main source of funding to address TB, including drug-resistant TB, the shortfall is especially worrisome. Investment in TB programs makes sense; a recent study showed that greater U.S. support for TB programs abroad would save the U.S. money in terms of domestic health spending.
Let’s review some of the reactions to the outcome of the meeting, with an emphasis on voices left out of most of the media coverage:
Joanne Carter, a Board Member of the Global Fund representing Developed Country NGOs:
“Research breakthroughs and evidence from the ground show we are poised to make huge wins in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria. Failing to fully fund the Global Fund will mean failing to turn the tide on the epidemics. This would be a tragic waste of a critical opportunity and it will only cost more down the line. This initial replenishment meeting must only be the first step in a process to achieve full funding.”
Shiba Phurailatpam, Regional Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV (ANP+):
“The devastation of AIDS has not stopped because of the financial crisis. Our brothers and sisters around the world are waiting desperately for the scale up of treatment and prevention programs. It is unacceptable that the Global Fund is being starved for resources even while rich countries found trillions of dollars to bail out an irresponsible financial sector. For a fraction of a percent of the funding raised to bail out the banks, we could save lives and fully fund the Global Fund.”
Nkhensani Mavasa, Community Health Advocacy Coordinator from South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign (TAC):
“In South Africa many people have been saved by the HIV and TB treatment programs supported by the Global Fund. But now I’m afraid of what this will mean for South Africa, for the lives that we are going to lose, for the children who will be needlessly born with HIV, and for implementation of our national plan for Universal Access. I’m afraid—and I’m angry. We have the leadership in South Africa—but where is the accountability? Donor countries have money; why not invest donor resources where they can have the biggest impact saving people’s lives?”
Javier Hourcade Bellocq, Executive Director of Friends of the Fund Latin America and Caribbean and Communities Delegation Member:
“The implications from the outcomes of this Replenishment meeting will be reflected in the upcoming Global Fund Board Meeting in December, when the Global Fund Board will decide on Round 10 grants allocations. It will be a hard reality check, if the Global Fund is not able to finance the demand expressed through proposals of good quality. It is time to explore a different approach to mobilizing resources for the Global Fund, including bringing in more emerging economies and members of the G20 to play a more active role; moving away from the mindset of recipient countries.”