Global Fund gets $12 bn to fight AIDS, TB, malaria

Governments and corporations committed to provide $11.7 bn to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

New York: Governments and corporations Tuesday committed to provide $11.7 billion to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria from 2011-2013.

The fresh resources were pledged to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria during a replenishment and pledging conference held in New York.

The amount pledged surpassed the $9.7 billion that the Global Fund received during its previous three-year period to implement health programmes in 144 developing countries.

"At a time when so many governments are tightening their belts, these commitments send a powerful message: It shows how seriously world leaders want to do the right thing beyond their borders, too," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the conclusion of the fund`s two-day meeting.

"It shows they understand the importance of health for all people," he said.

More than 40 governments, the European Commission, faith-based organisations, private foundations and corporations committed to contribute to the work of fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The US led donors with $4 billion, followed by France with $1.4 billion, Germany $822 million, Japan $800 million, Britain $600 million, Canada $528.4 million, Australia $203 million and Norway $230 million.

The European Commission pledged $452.3 million and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $300 million.

The Global Fund said the $11.7 billion comprise firm pledges as well as projections of financing expected from the countries and private organisations that were not able to make firm pledges during the meeting in New York.

Despite the pledges obtained for the 2011-2013 period, the amount still fell short of the 13-20 billion dollars the Global Fund had been seeking for the period. The fund has been providing two-thirds of funding to combat malaria and tuberculosis and the rest for anti-AIDS programmes.

The UN strongly supports the work of the fund because its achievements in developing countries would meet the Millennium Development Goals, which call for reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

UNAIDS said nearly $16 billion were available in 2009 to combat the epidemic, even though it was short by $10 billion of the estimated need.

UNAIDS said 5.2 million people are currently on HIV treatment, a 12-fold increase in six years to stop the spread of AIDS. It said there were 200,000 fewer AIDS-related deaths in 2008 than in 2004.

IANS

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