Browsing articles in "Announcement"
15 June 2016
Shawn Clackett

The World Could End AIDS if It Tried

The New York Times
By The Editorial Board

The world has made so much progress in reducing the spread of AIDS and treating people with H.I.V. that the epidemic has receded from the public spotlight. Yet by any measure the disease remains a major threat — 1.1 million people died last year from AIDS-related causes, and 2.1 million people were infected with the virus. And while deaths are down over the last five years, the number of new infections has essentially reached a plateau.

The United Nations announced a goal last week of ending the spread of the disease by 2030. That’s a laudable and ambitious goal, reachable only if individual nations vigorously campaign to treat everyone who has the virus and to limit new infections.

The medicines and know-how are there, but in many countries the money and political will are not. Besides shining a spotlight on the disease, it’s crucial that wealthy nations like the United States continue to pony up generously to underwrite what must be a global effort. Donors and low- and middle-income countries need to increase spending to $26 billion a year by 2020, the United Nations says, up from nearly $19.2 billion in 2014.

While still high, deaths attributable to AIDS are down 36 percent from 2010. That is largely because many more people are receiving antiretroviral drugs — 17 million people in 2015, compared with 7.5 million five years earlier. These medicines allow people to live near-normal lives and greatly reduce the risk of transmission to others.

But while some countries like South Africa (once a disaster zone) and Kenya have made tremendous progress in increasing treatment, many people who need the lifesaving therapy do not have access to it. Only 28 percent of those infected in Western and Central Africa were being treated in 2015, according to a recent United Nations report. The numbers were even lower in the Middle East and North Africa (17 percent) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (21 percent). In some countries, people who test positive are told to come back when they get sick because of budget constraints, says Sharonann Lynch, an H.I.V. policy adviser at Doctors Without Borders. Many never return.

In other places, it can be hard to even reach people who need drugs because of war or the lack of a functional public health system. And many who need help are unwilling to come forward because they fear being ostracized or worse because they are gay, use drugs or are engaged in sex work. Discriminatory laws and attitudes in countries like Nigeria, Russia and Uganda have probably forced tens of thousands of people who need help into hiding.

In some countries, infections have actually increased, which helps explain why progress has plateaued over all. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, for instance, 190,000 people became infected last year, up from 120,000 in 2010. And while the number of deaths is way down, the number of new infections was flat or down modestly over the same five-year period. This was also true of the United States, where an estimated 44,073 people were diagnosed in 2014, the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published data, down from 44,940 in 2010.

These numbers do not argue for complacency, but instead for more vigorous public health campaigns, increased access to condoms, clean needles for drug users and prescriptions for pre-exposure drugs. There is still no cure for AIDS. But there are many ways to minimize its deadly consequences.

10 May 2016
Shawn Clackett

Canada to Host Global Fund Replenishment

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledges support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and announces that Canada will host international donors at a pledging conference in Montréal in September 2016. From left to right: Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Loyce Maturu, Zimbabwean HIV and TB survivor, Global Fund Advocates Network Speaker (youth representative); and Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

This conference will bring global health leaders together to further mobilize efforts to end the epidemics of three of the world’s most devastating diseases – AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria – by 2030.

The Prime Minister also announced that Canada is pledging CAD785 million to the Global Fund for the next three years, a 20 per cent increase from its previous pledge three years ago. This investment will make a significant contribution to the ultimate goal of saving an additional 8 million lives and averting an additional 300 million new infections by 2019.

“This is an historic opportunity for Canada and the world,” said Prime Minister Trudeau. “By fast-tracking investments and building global solidarity, we can bring an end to three devastating epidemics – AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria – that have tragic and far-reaching impacts on the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The Global Fund expressed gratitude to Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau, who made the announcement at a town hall event in Ottawa, attended by students from local schools and universities, as well as numerous partners in global health.

“Canada is demonstrating outstanding leadership in global health and development,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “Prime Minister Trudeau’s insight and the commitment of his government to global partnership and cooperation can translate into saving millions of lives and creating opportunity and prosperity for countless more.”

The Prime Minister also voiced his support for the Global Fund’s new youth-driven social media campaign “End It. For Good” aimed at action to increase support for the global effort to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Those who get involved in the campaign will have the opportunity to join others who are dedicated to making the world a better place at a concert in Montréal in September. The Prime Minister encouraged supporters to get involved by taking a first action and sharing a short film.

During the town hall event, Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlighted the need to invest effectively to address the inequality and discrimination that puts adolescent girls and young women at increased risk for infectious diseases, and provide them with more opportunities in life. Adolescent girls and young women are disproportionately affected by HIV. Currently, more than 7,000 young women and girls are getting infected with HIV every week.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie; Alexander Percival Segbefia, the Minister of Health of Ghana; Moustafa Mijiyawa, Minister of Health and Social Protection of Togo; Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and Francophonie for the Government of Québec; Deb Dugan, CEO of (RED); Loyce Maturu, a community activist from Zimbabwe who is a Global Fund Advocate; and several other supporters, also spoke.

“As part of Canada’s renewed commitment to focusing international development on the poorest and most vulnerable, Canada is honored to host the Global Fund’s Fifth Replenishment Conference,” said Minister Bibeau.

Canada has committed more than CAD2.1 billion to the Global Fund since the Fund’s inception in 2002, including CAD650 million for 2014-2016.

The Global Fund partnership has saved more than 17 million lives, supporting more than 1,000 programs in more than 100 countries where the burden of disease is greatest.

The Global Fund set a target for raising US$13 billion for its next three-year cycle of funding. In addition to saving millions of lives and averting hundreds of millions of new infections, it will lay the groundwork for potential economic gains of up to US$290 billion in the years ahead. Strong investment in global health can significantly bolster international stability and security, while creating greater opportunity, prosperity, and well-being.

The Global Fund’s Replenishment Conference is held once every three years. President Barack Obama of the United States hosted the previous Replenishment Conference in Washington, D.C., in December 2013.

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For more information, please contact:

SETH FAISON (in Ottawa)
Mobile: +41 79 788 1163
E-mail:

IBON VILLELABEITIA (in Geneva)
Mobile: +41 79 292 5426
E-mail:

4 May 2016
Shawn Clackett

Luxembourg Increases Contribution to the Global Fund

Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs

Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG – Luxembourg is increasing its financial commitment to the Global Fund for the next three-year replenishment cycle starting in 2017, to €8.1 million, an 8 percent increase from the last replenishment period.

Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, announced the increase today at a meeting in Luxembourg with Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund.

“Luxembourg Development Cooperation has adopted a strong new global health strategy with clear and concise goals and targets,” said Minister Schneider. “I am very happy to confirm that the Global Fund is an essential and privileged partner in making this strategy a reality.”

Luxembourg is one of the most generous donors to the Global Fund, per capita. With a population of just over half a million people, Luxembourg commits 0.95 percent of its Gross National Income to Official Development Assistance.

“We are encouraged by early pledges of countries like Luxembourg who continue to show exceptional commitment and generosity in supporting the Global Fund’s mission,” said Dr. Dybul. “Thanks to partners like Luxembourg we expect a strong replenishment this year, enabling the Global Fund to help achieve the global goal of ending the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030.”

Luxembourg’s cumulative contributions to the Global Fund amount to €38 million. In addition, Luxembourg is also supporting efforts to finance technical assistance to support programs in El Salvador, Kosovo and Laos.

20 April 2016
Shawn Clackett

What’s the Buzz? Dame Quentin Bryce Launches International Malaria Congress in Brisbane

ICTMM

BRISBANE – On Friday 15 April, The Honorable Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO, Australia’s 25th Governor-General, officially launched the International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria 2016.

The launch took place at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Hosted by Professor Cheryl Jones, President of the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) and Professor David Emery, President of the Australian Society for Parasitology along with Associate Professor Helen Evans, from the Advisory Council of Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Ms Michelle Aldridge recounted her personal experience with malaria, which she contracted while volunteering in the Solomon Islands in 2012.

Expert panel moderated by Dr Norman Swan, Host, ABC RN Health Report consisted of Professor Maxine Whittaker (James Cook University), Professor James McCarthy (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute), Associate Professor (Hon) Helen Evans (Pacific Friends of the Global Fund), Rev Tim Costello (World Vision Australia), Dr Ben Rolfe (Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance, APLMA) and Professor Sharon Lewin (the Doherty Institute) discussed the importance and significance of the congress, the breakthroughs in malaria, health security within Australia and the need to continue funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The number of deaths caused by malaria declined 48 percent between 2000 and 2014. The number of lives saved by malaria treatment and prevention has grown steadily each year. Children under the age of five are the most vulnerable to malaria, because their immune systems are still developing effective resistance to the disease. Pregnant women are also vulnerable, because their immune systems are weakened during pregnancy. Protecting young children and pregnant women is paramount to any disease strategy.

The innovation of a long-lasting insecticidal mosquito net, at a relatively low cost, has greatly expanded protection for children and families. With more than 548 million mosquito nets distributed, people at risk for malaria who gained access to mosquito nets grew from 7 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2010 and 56 percent in 2014 in countries where the Global Fund invests.

 

Pacific Friends operates as a program within the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales.

Pacific Friends

Professor Janice Reid AC
Chair
Bill Bowtell AO
Executive Director

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.

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