Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, spoke to a group of global health advocates yesterday at a roundtable discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, as a part of their Future of U.S. Development Assistance for HIV/AIDS roundtable series. Kazatchkine discussed the unprecedented progress achieved in the last ten years by developing countries in their fights against HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria, thanks in part to funding provided by the Global Fund. He also spoke of the need for donor nations to not only sustain their contributions but increase them in order to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number 6, which relates to combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
At current funding levels, we are nowhere near achieving the HIV/AIDS treatment goals set out in MDG number 6, which call for universal access to treatment for all those who need it. Without a substantial increase in investments, this goal is unattainable. There are 2.8 million people receiving HIV treatment through Global Fund supported programs today. Kazatchkine discussed the importance of providing treatment as a prevention intervention, and emphasized the need to scale-up treatment services. Thanks to the scale-up of treatment to date, mortality rates have greatly decreased. For example, mortality rates in Addis Ababa have been reduced by 60 percent.
Efforts to combat HIV/AIDS have resulted in 930,000 HIV-positive pregnant women receiving a complete course of ARV prophylaxis to reduce mother-to-child transmission. Also, 120 million HIV counseling and testing sessions have been conducted and 4.9 million basic care and support services have been provided to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. In addition, 2.3 billion condoms have been distributed.
Kazatchkine highlighted progress on tuberculosis and the Global fund’s contribution to advancing that goal. The MDG goal is to have a TB incidence rate of 124 per 100,000 by 2016. Currently the rate of incidence is 164 per 100,000. Seven million persons have access to TB diagnostic services and treatment through Global Fund-supported programs, a 30 percent increase from mid-2009.
The Global Fund currently provides roughly 20 percent of international resources to fight AIDS, 63 percent of international funding to fight tuberculosis and 60 percent of funding to fight malaria.
According to Kazatzchine, “If donors provide sufficient resources, by 2015 we could virtually eliminate transmission of HIV from mother to child, dramatically reduce deaths from AIDS, prevent many new HIV infections, and achieve significant declines in TB prevalence and mortality.”
Kazatchkine described the achievements as fragile. An increase in contributions is critical to sustain and to facilitate additional progress in fighting these three infections. On October 5th donors will pledge their contributions for the next three years, which could greatly influence the outcome of the MDG 6 goal by 2015. Kazatchkine explained that a total pledge of $17 billion for the next three years is needed to continue to make progress. Donors contributed $10 billion during the last replenishment period in 2007.
The United States, as the largest contributor the Global Fund, provides 28 percent of funding. Kazatchkine explained that every dollar received from the U.S. leverages $2 from other donors. The U.S. must increase its contributions in October in order to achieve the attainable goals of eliminating malaria, and greatly reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis within the next few years. It is notable that the Administration requested fewer resources for the Global Fund in its fiscal year 2011 budget that Congress had appropriated the year before.