11 October 2002
THE FUND TO FIGHT AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA SAYS: "ADDITIONAL $2 BILLION NEEDED NEXT YEAR TO FUND AIDS, TB AND MALARIA PROGRAMS"
Programs Are Currently Poised to Scale Up the Fight Against the Epidemics, According to Assessment Commissioned by the Fund
Donors will need to double their contributions to the Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria next year in order to meet the anticipated increase of quality health programs offering effective responses to the epidemics, according to financial projections released by the organization today.
To date, $2.1 billion has been pledged to the Fund over the next five years. In 2003, the Fund's needs will grow an additional $2 billion to finance the increasing number of worthy proposals. In 2004, $4.6 billion more will be required. These forecasts are based on the growing capacity of countries to absorb these resources and expand effective programs, and evidence of a sharp increase in both quantity and quality of grant proposals.
"The current situation requires a substantial front-loaded capital investment to scale up existing efforts," said Prof. Richard Feachem, executive director of the Fund, who called for the additional $2 billion in 2003. "The programs are ready. Any delay now will be measured by millions of lives lost and billions of dollars of additional cost to later respond to the expanded epidemics."
A study published this summer in The Lancet suggests that two-thirds of new HIV infections expected by 2010 could be prevented with an immediately expanded response of prevention interventions. The U.S. National Intelligence Council reported last week that, without a massive global response, HIV prevalence in China, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Russia could be up to three times higher than estimates released earlier this year, leading to a global burden that could surpass 100 million cases.
"The impact and pace of AIDS, TB and malaria cannot be overestimated," said Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga, chair of the Fund board. "The epidemics will cost us nearly 6 million lives this year and nearly $120 billion in lost productive years of life."
In April 2001, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed the creation of a global "war chest" to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, and called on donors to provide at least $10 billion additional funds annually to fight these three big diseases of poverty. Later that year, the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health confirmed that at least $10 billion annually in additional donor funds would be required to fight the three diseases.
$2.1 billion was quickly pledged to the Fund, with the United States providing the largest government contribution with a sum of $500 million, followed by the United Kingdom and Italy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been the leading philanthropic donor with a commitment of $100 million, and Winterthur Insurance/Credit Suisse and ENI are currently the largest corporate donors with pledges of $1 million and $.5 million respectively.
In January 2002, the Fund became operational. Within three months the board committed $616 million of funding to 40 countries over two years, with further commitment pending program performance and fund availability.
As of 10 October, $483 million of the pledged $2.1 billion had been transferred into the Fund's account. Of the 31 countries that have pledged support to the Fund, only Ireland had made a complete payment. Seven other countries had made partial payments.
A second round of proposals is currently underway. Today, the Fund disclosed that approximately $5.2 billion is being requested of the Fund from second round proposals that have meet initial eligibility criteria. A decision on which of these proposals should be awarded funding is scheduled for January 2003.
"If we go about business as usual, we will fail," said Feachem. "The Fund was created to help take the world's response to a higher financial and operational level. The three epidemics can be driven back where there is top-level political commitment, where the public sector and private sectors work together, and where there is accountability for achieving results."
At the conclusion of the Fund's third board meeting today in Geneva, the board agreed to make resource mobilization a main focus of its next meeting in January 2003.