38 millones. Its the number of lives that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has saved since 2022, is a call to action to urgently invest to protect decades of progress against HIV, TB and malaria that are being derailed as a knock-on effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of those 38 million lives saved, 6 million were in 2019, showing an increase of 20% compared to 2018 – remarkable progress resulting from increased efficiencies in service delivery, success in finding and treating more people with lifesaving medicine, cost savings on health products, and improved collaboration across the Global Fund partnership.
In 2019, for exaplme, in countries where the Global Fund invests, 20.1 million people received antiretroviral therapy for HIV; 5.7 million people tested and treated for TB; and 160 million mosquito nets were distributed to protect nearly 320 million people from malaria for three years.
A new pandemic that puts everything at risk
Overall, deaths caused by AIDS, TB and malaria each year have been reduced by nearly 50% since the peak of the epidemics in countries where the Global Fund invests. However, all these advances are being threatened by the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report shows that the volume of HIV testing has dropped by 50% in some places and new TB case notifications have dropped by up to 75%, which could lead to a rise in new infections as people unaware of their status continue to transmit the diseases to others. Many countries have been forced to delay mosquito net distribution campaigns, leaving people vulnerable to malaria – most of them children – unprotected.
The Global Fund has responded swiftly to support countries to address these challenges. Since March 2020, the Global Fund has approved approximately US$700 million to 103 countries and 11 multi-country programs to fight COVID-19 through increased testing and tracing and protection for front-line health workers; adapt existing HIV, TB and malaria programs to protect progress; and reinforce systems for health so they don’t collapse and they are prepared to roll out COVID-19 treatments and vaccines once available.
A global effort
The Global Fund mobilizes and invests more than US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 100 countries. In partnership with governments, civil society, technical agencies, the private sector and people affected by the diseases, the fight against pandemics requires, now more than ever, an effort from all this partners.
“This year’s Results Report demonstrates how a united world, led by strong commitments by communities, can work together to drive diseases into retreat,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “This is an inflection point. We can surrender the gains we have made against HIV, TB and malaria, and allow our progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals to be sharply reversed. Or we can act with speed and scale, investing far greater resources than have yet been committed, to counter both the direct impact of COVID-19 and to mitigate the knock-on consequences for HIV, TB and malaria.”