Guest post by Deborah Derrick, President, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Over a decade ago, the world faced an unprecedented health and humanitarian crisis. Six million people were dying each year from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria – three diseases that are preventable, treatable and, in the case of tuberculosis and malaria, curable. Together, these scourges caused unimaginable human suffering. Too often, those suffering most were vulnerable and marginalized populations, the least likely among us to have the resources to defend themselves.
Faced with this global emergency, Kofi Annan called for the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, understanding that the battle would require a “war chest” of resources far beyond what was then available. The Global Fund was formed to raise and disburse funds to support large-scale treatment and prevention programs; a unique partnership of governments, the private sector, civil society and affected communities joined together, unanimous in their desire to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
A little over a decade later, the Global Fund has learned through experience what does and does not work, and it has adapted its model and its approach to the three diseases accordingly. Transformative steps, including the recent launch of a new funding model, continue to better position the Global Fund to help accelerate progress on the three diseases and target those populations most impacted by them.
This recent transformation includes a bold new approach to reaching marginalized and vulnerable populations. In many communities worldwide, these demographics – women and girls, men who have sex with men, intravenous drug users, prisoners, sex workers and migrants – are at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis epidemics. High incidence and prevalence rates are compounded by discrimination and even fear of arrest. The end result is limited access to health care, education and prevention programs and a continued cycle of disease.
The Right Thing and the Smart Thing to Do
The new funding model brings all of the knowledge the Global Fund has gleaned over the past 10 years to bear on its grant-making process. It directs and prioritizes resources to ensure care and treatment is provided to key affected populations, in particular high-risk groups.
The past decade of Global Fund experience makes it clear: In order to defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, we will need to address the most-at-risk populations. We simply cannot achieve this goal any other way. By investing in this way, the Global Fund and its partners help slow infection rates and provide care for those who need it most.
At the same time, the Global Fund has shown a clear ability to invest strategically, in areas with high potential for impact, and elicit value for money. The new funding model aligns these two objectives: the desire to do the right thing and the ability to do it in the most effective way.
Stay tuned next week for part two of this post by Friends President Deborah Derrick, in which she outlines the work the Global Fund is doing to expand its focus on most-at-risk groups and support human rights.
Deborah Derrick is the President of Friends of the Global Fight, a U.S.-based advocate for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She's worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and as a senior advisor at the State Department, on Capitol Hill and for the United Nations.