Last week, Pacific Friends of the Global Fund hosted an Australian visit from the Executive Management Team of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In a trip visiting Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, the Global Fund’s delegation included the General Manager, Mr Gabriel Jaramillo, Director of External Relations and Partnerships, Dr Christoph Benn, and Board Vice-Chair, Dr Mphu Ramatlapeng. With the assistance of AusAID, the Global Fund team was involved in a series of high level-meetings including those with Director General of AusAID, Peter Baxter, and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Bob Carr.
The Global Fund visit to Australia included a roundtable event in Melbourne hosted by Pacific Friends and Oxfam Australia, which welcomed guests such as Victorian Minister for Health, The Hon. David Davis, and chair of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism in Papua New Guinea, Lady Roslyn Morata. General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo explained the increasing need for Australian support for the life-saving work of the Global Fund in the region, particularly in countries such as Papua New Guinea, whose current success against communicable diseases has been threatened by the effects of the European Financial Crisis.
Gabriel Jaramillo mentioned that the Global fund offers cost-effective and evidence-based solutions to these diseases in the region, and that the implementation of these solutions should be seen as an investment in countries in which the Global Fund operates.
The Global Fund plays an important role in advancing Australia’s objectives of more efficient and coordinated international development assistance in the health sector. Since 2004, Australia has provided $240 million to the Global Fund in core contributions. As part of its current three-year pledge, Australia has committed to provide an additional $180 million by 2013. In the 2012-13 Budget, Australia allocated $70 million towards the Global Fund. By 2015, the Australian contribution to the Global Fund will help approximately 70,000 people receive HIV treatment; 60,000 people receive tuberculosis treatment and the distribution of over 1,700,000 bed nets annually to prevent malaria.
Mr Jaramillo highlighted the significant relationship with regional partners like AusAID, whose commendable work has been instrumental in the support of the Global Fund and its address of health issues within the Asia-Pacific Region. In late October this year, AusAID will host the 2012 International Malaria Summit in Sydney, where international leaders will address the Australian response to malaria in the region. The 2012 Malaria Summit comes at an opportune time, with partnerships between AusAID and the Global Fund aimed to collectively combat the disease in the region by strengthening advocacy efforts and regional health networks.
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Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.