The global fund partnership saved 38 million lives – but COVID-19 could kill progress
September 14, 2020
GENEVA – A new report from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a call to action to urgently invest in protecting decades of advances against HIV, TB and malaria derailed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report released today, the Global Fund partnership has saved 38 million lives since 2002, including 6 million in 2019 alone. This represents a 20 percent increase in the number of lives saved year-over-year – remarkable advances resulting from a Greater efficiency in the provision of services, success in finding and treating more people with life-saving drugs, cost savings in health products and improved cooperation in all countries result in Global Fund Partnership. Overall, deaths from AIDS, TB and malaria have fallen by nearly 50% each year since the peak of the epidemics in countries in which the Global Fund invests.
However, the 2020 earnings report shows that much of this progress could be lost due to the impact of COVID-19. Deaths and infections from HIV, TB and malaria could skyrocket in the next 12 months, the report warns.
“This year’s earnings report shows how a united world, led by strong community commitments, can work together to drive disease into retreat,” said Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund. “We have made extraordinary progress, but COVID-19 is now threatening to reverse the gains that we have all worked so hard on. We can not permit that. We have to unite to fight. “
Main results achieved in 2019 in countries in which the Global Fund invests:
- 20.1 million people received antiretroviral therapy for HIV;
- 718,000 HIV positive mothers were given medication to keep them alive and to prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies.
- 5.7 million people have been tested and treated for TB;
- 160 million mosquito nets were distributed to protect nearly 320 million people from malaria for three years.
The results of the 2020 Outcome Report are the result of the efforts of a wide range of stakeholders including the Global Fund partnership, including implementing governments, multilateral agencies, bilateral partners, civil society groups, disease-affected people and the private sector.
The Global Fund made great strides in 2019 on several fronts. While girls are still disproportionately affected by HIV compared to their male peers, the infection rate among adolescent girls and young women has fallen by 51% since 2010 in 13 priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa where the Global Fund is investing. The Global Fund also supported the purchase of 3.7 million self-test kits. Access to a variety of testing options is essential to ending HIV as a public health threat.
A strategic initiative by the Global Fund, the Stop TB Partnership and the WHO, focusing on 13 countries with the highest levels of TB exposure, has accelerated progress in the search for “missing” people with TB – people who are undiagnosed, untreated and go unreported and could die or continue to spread the disease to others without treatment. The gap between TB reports and TB incidence in the 13 priority countries narrowed from 49% in 2014 to 33% in 2018.
To keep people safe from malaria, the Global Fund worked with partners to bring the cost of an insecticide-treated mosquito net down to less than $ 2, and the cost of treating malaria fell to $ 0.58 in 2019 Dollars – Savings that helped purchase more than 14 million additional nets and treat more than 24 million additional people for malaria.
These gains are now threatened by COVID-19. The report shows that the volume of HIV testing has decreased by 50% in some places and reports of new TB cases have decreased by up to 75%, which could lead to an increase in new infections as people who find theirs Status unaware, the diseases continue to be transmitted to others. Many countries have been forced to postpone campaigns to distribute mosquito nets, leaving people susceptible to malaria – most of them children – unprotected.
The Global Fund has responded quickly to help countries address these challenges. As of March 2020, the Global Fund has approved around $ 700 million to 103 countries and 11 multi-country programs to fight COVID-19 through increased testing, tracking and protection for frontline health workers. Adapt existing HIV, TB and malaria programs to protect progress; and empower health systems so they don’t collapse and be ready to introduce COVID-19 treatments and vaccines as soon as they become available.
“This is a turning point,” said Sands. “We can abandon the gains we have made against HIV, TB and malaria and allow our progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals to be greatly reversed. Or we can act quickly and true to scale and invest far more resources than before to counteract the direct effects of COVID-19 as well as mitigate the consequences for HIV, TB and malaria. “