Global Fund faces 'challenge' to find cash

26th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

One of the biggest global sources of funds to treat AIDS and other killer diseases in poor countries is facing a crucial challenge to find cash after the financial crisis, its head said Monday.

The Global Fund for HIV/AIDS malaria and tuberculosis, which claims to have saved an estimated 4.9 million lives since 2005, needs to mobilise 13 to 20 billion dollars (10-15 billion euros) for 2011-2013 this year from state and private donors.

"The challenge is the resources," said Michel Kazatchkine executive director of the Global Fund.

"The challenge for us in 2010 is to build on the results and mobilise the international community in a very difficult context."

"These resources will largely determine where the world will be in 2015 with the health related (UN) Millenium Development Goals," by their target date, Kazatchkine told journalists.

Apart from bringing like saving HIV/AIDS drug treatment to Africa, the Fund says it currently accounts some two-thirds of international funding for TB treatment and 70 percent for malaria treatment and prevention.

Last month, a senior Fund official said there had been a "very positive reaction" during a meeting with donors including states, charities and private companies.

But Kazatchkine said Monday he would spend most of his time travelling the world to coax support until a major pledging conference in New York in October chaired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

He in particular targeted broader funding from Gulf nations and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) states.

Although it was set up by UN member states in 2002, the fund largely got of the ground thanks to the involvement of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 2008 to 2010 the fund has provided 9.7 billion dollars for carefully selected HIV/AID, malaria and TB treatment prevention programmes in developing nations.

"We were 3.0 billion dollars short, the Global Fund could not respond to all the quality demands we have received," said Kazatchkine.

Some states, led by Ethiopia, are pressing the Global Fund to take on all health-related UN development Goals, including those for maternal and child health.

"I don't think in a year of difficult replenishment it is the right time to broaden the mandate of the Global Fund," said Katzatckine, a day before the body holds a board meeting in Geneva.

The Gates Foundation was "strongly opposed" to an expansion, he noted.

© 2010 AFP

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