I've been asking Jamie Bridge to write another article for this site since he started his new job. Well he's now written it and his timing is impeccable. Next week is the AIDS2010 conference in Vienna and the Global Fund is a key player in the fight to tackle the spread of AIDS.
In this article Jamie gives us a quick introduction to their work.
The Global Fund
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria was created in 2002 to quickly raise and distribute money to low and middle income countries. Each country forms a Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) which includes the government, civil society, faith-based organizations, private bodies, and people living with the diseases. These CCMs develop and submit proposals for five-year programs, which are assessed by an independent panel of experts before the best ones are approved for funding. The Global Fund is a revolutionary new donor - providing funds based entirely on the technical merit of proposals, the income level of the country, and the disease burdens (rather than for political or other reasons). Since 2002, we have approved grants worth a total of US$ 19.3 billion in 145 countries, and it has been estimated that these grants have saved 5.7 million lives. There are currently 2.8 million people on HIV treatment through Global Fund investments, and these grants have also paid for 2.3 billion condoms to be distributed, and for 120 million HIV counseling and testing sessions.
Through its grants across the world, the Global Fund has become the world's leading donor for HIV prevention, treatment and care for people who inject drugs. We "guesstimate" that we invested US$ 180 million in harm reduction activities between 2004 and 2008 (there is a reason why we don't know exactly, but that is a whole different story!). This is roughly $45 million a year out of the total global investment of $160 million as calculated by IHRA this year. In many developing countries where governments are unable or unwilling to fund these programs, the Global Fund is the only donor. But we need to invest more - the UN estimate that $3.2 billion is needed in 2010 alone.
A call to arms
This article is a call to arms on two points. First, 2010 is a replenishment year for the Global Fund, after meeting in the Netherlands back in March, the world's governments and money-makers will meet again in New York in October and pledge money for the next three years. The last replenishment (in 2007) provided nearly $10 billion, which has allowed the Global Fund to meet ever-growing demand from developing countries. Please support this process by advocating for your countries to chip in with their fair share, and by joining our initiatives such as Born HIV Free, and also independent initiatives such as the Robin Hood Tax. Also write to your MPs and representatives to raise this issue - after all, they work for you! - and, of course, buy lots of Product (RED) goodies!
Secondly, the Global Fund can only invest its money on what the countries request - this is a basic principle of the organization: country-driven and country-owned programs. In order to invest more in harm reduction around the world, the Global Fund needs more countries to request this funding in their proposals. In May, Round 10 of funding was launched, so CCMs will now be developing ideas and filling in the paperwork. Now is the time to be lobbying them to include harm reduction. The Global Fund portfolio website has all of the CCM contact details, and also tells you who is representing who (each CCM has civil society representatives who are there to represent all of civil society, not just their own interest groups). Just pick a country from the drop-down list and go to the bottom of the page for the contacts. If you are in - or have contacts in - a Global Fund recipient country, then please make contact and try to push this issue. To help, the Global Fund has produced its first fact sheet for CCMs on harm reduction, available in five languages. Round 10 also includes a new pool of reserved funding ($200 million) especially for most-at-risk populations such as people who inject drugs, so there has never been more incentive for proposals to target this key group.
In short, the Global Fund is saving lives and delivering essential interventions to people who inject drugs across the developing world. But we need to do more, and we need your support.
Jamie Bridge, MSc, currently works in the Technical Publications and Learning Team of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Before moving to Geneva in 2010, he worked for the International Harm Reduction Association in London, coordinating the international harm reduction conferences. Before that, he also worked in a needle and syringe program in Bedford. Jamie also works voluntarily with UKHRA and the NNEF.blog comments powered by Disqus
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