31 January 2012
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Underfunding the Global Fund: a crisis for the Global Fund or a crisis for everyone?

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance released a briefing paper earlier this month called Don’t stop now: How underfunding the Global Fund impacts on the HIV response which addresses the impact of the underfunding of the Global Fund. With Round 11 of the Global Fund cancelled and new grants postponed to 2014 there is no capacity to increase the coverage of HIV responses.

… the scale-up of the worldwide HIV response will be seriously affected and important existing services will be reduced or eliminated in the absence of urgent measures. If the global community is to prevent this enormous setback threatening the health and lives of millions of people – and realise the numerous commitments made by United Nations member states through the Millennium Development Goals and at the 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS – then swift and decisive action is imperative.

The report, therefore, calls with great urgency upon donors and national governments to respond to the funding crisis, in the following three ways:

  1. Donors must honour existing pledges and increase investment to provide the Global Fund with financing (approximately $2 billion) for a new funding opportunity in 2012.
  2. National governments must increase investment in their own HIV responses and in the implementation of national AIDS strategies that reflect the epidemiology in their countries.
  3. Bilateral donors must take immediate steps to fill critical HIV service gaps that will not be covered by existing funding mechanisms.
30 January 2012
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Bill Bowtell given Honours on Australia Day 2012

Last week on Australia Day (26 January), our Executive Director Bill Bowtell was given honours as Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to public health through the development and implementation of policy and programs supporting HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and as a supporter of global debate on communicable diseases and their impact on human and economic development.

An excerpt of the ABC video covering the Australia Day Honours List:

The original full video can be found on the ABC website.

30 January 2012
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Bill Gates about the Global Fund in Annual Letter

Every year, since 2009, Bill Gates publishes an annual letter in which he address some pertinent global matters and the progress that has been made in the previous year. He covers a wide range of topics in this year’s letter, including innovation in agriculture (including food security), global health (including  vaccines, polio, AIDS and the Global Fund, family planning, and population growth), U.S. education, and updates on the work of his Foundation.

In his Global Health section he emphasises once again the importance of the work of the Global Fund:

Between 2008 and 2010 the Global Fund gave $8 billion for AIDS (57 percent), malaria (29 percent), and tuberculosis (14 percent). Other than PEPFAR for AIDS, the Global Fund is the biggest donor for all three of these diseases. It provided the money for 230 million bednets, which have been key to the 20 percent decline in malaria deaths over the past decade. It also provided treatment for 8.6 million cases of tuberculosis. I am not doing a section on malaria or TB in this year’s letter, but there has been good progress in both diseases, with the Global Fund being key to this.

The Global Fund does a lot to make sure its money is spent efficiently. Given the places where the Global Fund works, it is not surprising that some of the money was diverted for corrupt purposes. However, the Global Fund found these problems itself and changed the way it handled training grants, where most of the problems were. Unfortunately, news of any corruption makes many citizens think the entire program is mismanaged and a huge portion of the money is being wasted. Some of the headlines that talked about two-thirds of specific grants being misdirected fueled this impression. In fact, less than 5 percent of Global Fund money was misused, and with the new procedures in place that percentage will be even lower. Our foundation is the biggest non-government supporter of the Global Fund, committing $650 million over the years because of the incredible impact its spending has. I am confident that this is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year, and I always urge other funders to join us in getting so much bang for our buck.

Between 2011 and 2013, assuming that all donors honor their commitments, the Global Fund will disburse $10 billion. This is a $2 billion increase, but not nearly the $12–$14 billion that is needed and was hoped for. Citizens of donor countries should know about the difference their generosity has made. The cost of keeping a patient on AIDS drugs has been coming down, and it looks like getting it to $300 per patient per year should be achievable. That will mean every $300 that governments invest in the Global Fund will put another person on treatment for a year. Every $300 that’s not forthcoming will represent a person taken off treatment. That’s a very clear choice. I believe that if people understood the choice, they would ask their government to save more lives.

26 January 2012
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Celebrating the Ten-Year Fight for World Health

The Global Fund is marking its 10th anniversary, and that is worth a celebration! Over the previous decade the Global Fund has financed and catalyzed unprecedented success, saving an estimated 100,000 lives each month.

In partnership with Le Monde diplomatique a special 4 page supplement called “Ten-Year Fight for World Health” was launched earlier this month to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Global Fund. It features contributions from Kofi Annan (“A war chest”), Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (“Toward a world without HIV”), Michèle Barzach President of Friends of the Global Fund Europe (“Europe’s engagement”) and an opinion piece from Michel Kazatchkine (“Finding a way to remobilise”) outlining the lifesaving work of the Global Fund from 2002 when the Fund was created  to 2012, the results and the impact of the Global fund  in its 10 years of existence.

The 10th anniversary of the Global Fund will also feature a giant collage of photos of people who are involved in the struggle against epidemic diseases, including some of the world’s leaders, and you can be alongside them. The more people we can see, the better we can show that there is a global movement for change.  All you need to do is to take a photo of yourself, we at Pacific Friends already submitted our photos (see our Facebook page).

More even, at the 10 year mark the Global Fund also gets ready for a new chapter, as Natasha F. Bilimoria (our colleague at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) explains in this article in the Huffington Post.

25 January 2012
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Executive Director of the Global Fund steps down, new General Manager announced

Earlier this week Michel Kazatchkine announced his decision to step down from his position as Executive Director of the Global Fund by March 16, 2012. In a message to staff, partners and friends he assured everyone that “for the last ten years, the Global Fund has been my passion and my most important undertaking”. It was a period in which he led the organization for five years and oversaw a dramatic expansion in the organization’s life-saving work. Chair of the Global Fund, Simon Bland, emphasised that “[Michel] has helped shape the Global Fund into the beacon of hope it is today for tens of millions of people around the world.”

The Global Fund’s Board in November already decided to appoint a General Manager to oversee an ambitious transformation plan. In a separate announcement yesterday, Gabriel Jaramillo was appointed to the newly created position of General Manager, a role in which he will oversee a process of transformation as it accelerates the fight against the three pandemics by focusing on its management of risk and grants. Mr. Jaramillo will take up a 12-month appointment on 1 February 2012. The press release includes a short background of Jaramillo:

Mr. Jaramillo, a former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sovereign Bank,  has more than 35 years of experience in executive positions in the financial sector, where he won broad recognition as a highly skilled leader and administrator with impeccable integrity.

Since he retired a year ago, he has served as a Special Advisor to the Office of the Special Envoy for Malaria of the Secretary General of the United Nations, and was a Member of the High-Level, Independent Panel that looked at the Global Fund’s fiduciary controls and oversight mechanisms.

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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