Friday, March 26, 2010


To battle three killer diseases--AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria--the United Nations created the Global Fund in 2002 and now hopes to expand it into a Global Health Fund.

Since its creation, the Global Fund has seen spectacular accomplishments, making the fund "arguably the most successful innovation in foreign assistance of the past decade. As a result of Global Fund programmes, an estimated 2.5 million people are on antiretroviral Aids therapy. No fewer than 8 million people have been cured of TB. And more than 100 million long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed in the fight against malaria. In total, studies suggest that Global Fund programmes have saved 5 million lives."

Operational procedures allow the Global Fund to be successful. "Disease-specific committees, called the Country Co-ordination Mechanism (CCM), are constituted in each developing country. Each CCM is chaired by the national government, but incorporates input from non-government organisations to formulate national-scale, disease-specific plans for submission to the Global Fund. Once the Global Fund receives these plans, they are sent to a Technical Review Panel (TRP) to check that the plans are scientifically sound and feasible. If the TRP approves, the plan is sent to the board of the Global Fund, which then votes to approve financing."

Challenges facing the Global Fund include lack of continuous financing and the potential to broaden the Global Fund's mandate. Since 2002, the Global Fund has approved around $19bn in total funding. . .Unfortunately, the Global Fund is already in a state of fiscal crisis. It needs around $6bn per year in the next three years to cover expansion of programmes for the three diseases, but it has only around $3bn per year from donor countries. Unless this is corrected, millions of people will die unnecessarily."

Financial crisis hinders the Global Fund from reaching its new goal, which is to improve basic health and reduce "child and maternal mortality. Expanding the Global Fund's mandate to include financing for training and deployment of community health workers, construction and operation of local health facilities, and other components of primary health systems could ensure the development of these local systems."

"Many countries – including France, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States – have recently recognised the need to move beyond the financing of control of Aids, TB, and malaria to financing improvements in primary health systems more generally. But they seem to view the issue of health-system financing as an either/or choice: scale up control of Aids, TB, and malaria, or scale up financing of primary health systems. The truth, of course, is that both are needed, and both are affordable".

Read More: "Funding a Global Health Fund."

Sachs, Jeffrey. "Funding a Global Health Fund."

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