British Medical Journal
April 6, 2002


Fund overwhelmed by requests
By Fiona Fleck, Geneva


The Fund, hailed as a major step in the fight against AIDS,

tuberculosis, and malaria when it was launched last year, has been

overwhelmed with applications from developing countries.


A key project of United Nations' secretary general Kofi Annan, the fund

has received pledges from developed countries and private donors to the

value of $1.92bn (œ1.35bn; 2.20bn), of which $700-800m will be disbursed

this year and the rest in 2003.


But developing countries are asking for $1.15bn, much more than is

available for 2002.


Melanie Zipperer, a spokeswoman for the fund, said it was unlikely that

all applications would be successful and unlikely that, despite the

overwhelming demand, the fund would increase global spending by 50% this



"We have to raise more money, that's for sure. The fight against AIDS

alone requires between $7bn and $10bn globally. The fund was never

envisaged as the sole source, but as an additional mechanism," she said.


A technical panel is meeting in Geneva, where the fund is based, to

consider the flood of applications most of which, totalling $641m, came

from 36 countries in Africa. All the applications are for the prevention

of infections and the treatment, care, and support of people who are

infected and others who are directly affected. The final decisions on

which proposals get funding will be taken at a board meeting in New York

on 22-24 April.


According to the organisation, 40 million people are infected with HIV. In

seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa over 20% of all adults are infected

with the virus.


Most applications were for existing programmes to fight HIV/AIDS. Many of

these focused on prevention: information campaigns, voluntary counselling

and testing, and prevention of mother to child transmission. Some

proposals aimed to strengthen treatment and community health care. Ms

Zipperer said there were also some requests for condoms and a few for



Proposals for fighting malaria included effective distribution of bed

nets, funding for treatment and better laboratory research facilities.

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