Now is the time to step up investments, says report, which pegs costs of stalled HIV prevention at $47 billion, of undiagnosed TB at a million unnecessary deaths, and of malaria prevention and treatment failures at $20 billion lost productivity . . .
Citing a need for an estimated $87 billion to countries eligible for support through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria to reach all people who need services to prevent, diagnose and treat the three diseases through 2016, a report from International Civil Society Support for the Global Fund says the money could buy an unprecedented humanitarian achievement.
But, if that argument is insufficient, a stepped up investment in evidence-based responses to HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, will also bring financial returns on each dollar spent the report says. And if that still doesn’t sway donors, the report, Cost of Inaction: A report on how inadequate investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will affect millions of lives, tallies the expenses tied to inadequately tended epidemics. Pointing to research demonstrating the community-wide impact of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, the report presents both costs of the tolls of the three diseases and savings from stopping them. Its estimates show each dollar invested in combination HIV prevention returning $12 in savings from prevention of future infections, every dollar invested in TB case finding returning $30 dollars in savings from averted illnesses and deaths, and every dollar toward malaria treatment and prevention leading to $20 gained through continued health and productivity.
On the other hand, on the theme of “you can pay now, or pay more later,” the report asserts that if funding stays static, 3.9 million HIV infections that could have been prevented by accelerating efforts to provide full access to services, will, instead, occur in the next two years. The report puts the lifetime costs of those infections at $47 million. With poverty continuing to be a significant driver of TB worldwide, and 80 percent of external funding for prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment coming through the Global Fund, the report estimates that continuing the current level of funding over the next three years will lead to a million preventable deaths. In addition, failure to expand efforts to address TB now could lead to spreads of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis that could be “virtually uncontrollable,” the report says. Increases in malaria money, the report says, could prevent 430 million cases of the disease, 427,000 hospital beds from being filled, and 196,000 people from dying, and save $20 billion in otherwise lost productivity.
The report was put together in consultation with the Global Fund Secretariat and its technical partners, the STOP TB Partnership and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.