Global Fund Facing Financial Shortfall, Needs $3.5B in 2006, Executive Director Says
The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is facing a financial shortfall and requires "billions" of dollars from donors over the next few years to meet its commitments, Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said on Monday in an interview, Reuters reports (Brown, Reuters, 3/14). Feachem is in Sweden this week at a meeting to review the fund's total financial needs and discuss how to best finance programs fighting the three diseases worldwide (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/14). In order to meet its funding commitments, the Global Fund needs $2.3 billion this year, $3.5 billion in 2006 and $3.6 billion in 2007 (Global Fund, "Resource Needs of the Global Fund: 2005-2007," March 2005). Although donors have pledged a total of about $6 billion since the fund's creation, the pledges have been on a "very ad hoc, insecure" annual basis, according to Feachem. "The shortfall in 2006 and 2007 is very substantial because up until now most donors have pledged year by year. They haven't made long-term, multiyear pledges. It is merely optimism that the money will be available. This 'replenishment' conference will turn optimism into firm commitments and guaranteed long-term funding," Feachem said. According to UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot, it is "vital" to predict future funding levels so that "five years down the road we don't run into the situation where we have to tell patients, 'I am sorry, we are running out of money,' which is basically a death sentence," Reuters reports. Feachem added that curbing the spread of HIV, TB and malaria is a "prerequisite" for achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, according to Reuters. "You can't achieve the child mortality goal unless you fight malaria because it is the main killer of African children. You can't achieve the education goal unless you control HIV/AIDS because in Zambia it is killing school teachers at twice the rate that teachers are being trained," he said (Reuters, 3/14).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.