In just over two weeks the world will face a key moment in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The leaders of countries all over the world must announce a commitment that could help save 16 million lives, prevent 234 million infections, reduce the mortality rate of these diseases by half, build stronger health systems in the countries most affected and accelerate the end of these pandemics; the most deadly that exist today.
To do that, around 14 billion dollars are required. That is minimum figure the Global Fund for the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria – the international fund to finance projects that help combat these pandemics – hopes to raise form contributing countries during the Donors’ Conference which will be held in Lyon on 10 October.
This is a unique opportunity. It is, practically, a case of now or never. The advances made over recent decades have no precedent in the fight against any disease, but all is not done. On the contrary, recent years have seen funding stagnate, facilitating (together with the lack of policies that protect the most vulnerable groups) the re-emergence and outbreak of pandemics in many parts of the world, losing much of the ground made and placing all the hard-won progress at risk.
If funding does not increase and is only maintained, these preventable diseases will cause huge loss of life, a growing economic burden and overwhelming pressure on the world’s health systems. That’s why we have to step up the fight. Take a step forward and not retreat.
Spain, step up the fight
The Donors’ Conference in Lyon represents another opportunity for Spain to re-assume a role commensurate with the responsibilities of a country of our stature. The fight against pandemics also involves the fight against inequality, for gender equality, for respect for sexual identities and the defence of public health systems; all values with which Spain identifies and could promote effectively in governance spaces such as the Global Fund.
In the past decade, Spain became the fifth biggest donor to the Global Fund. However, since 2011, it has not made any contribution. This despite the fact that investments in the global fund have historically enjoyed parliamentary support. In November 2016, under the Partido Popular government, all parliamentary groups unanimously approved a non-legislative motion calling on the Government to “progressively” increase the resources allocated to the Global Fund and to become a donor again, with a contribution of approximately 100 million euros over a period of three years. Why is Spain’s return so fundamental? We’lltell you why in this document.
What’s more, here at Salud por Derecho we have asked the Spanish Government, through this letter, to re-assume our country’s historic commitment to the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, sending a delegation of the highest level to the next Global Fund Donors’ Conference and announcing the contribution of 100 million euros over three years, which would place us at the same level as similar countries.
The 2030 Agenda and Universal Health Coverage
Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has managed to reduce deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by a third, and has saved more than 27 million lives through strengthening health systems and financing health programmes administered by local experts in the countries and communities most affected by these pandemics.
Nevertheless, it is not enough; in 2017 nearly 2.5 million people died from these diseases. These figures are far from the objective, still obtainable, of ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as pandemics by 2030, as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 3 signed by the United Nations in 2015, and thus preparing the way to Universal Health Coverage. That is, that all people, regardless of place or residence, origin, economic capacity or personal situation, can exercise when and where they need, their right to access and access a quality and comprehensive public health service.
The work of the Global Fund for the 2030 Agenda, therefore, does not end with the fight against pandemics. Through a focus based on human rights and the financing of different programmes, it also contributes, for example, to SDG 1 (No Poverty), to SDG 5 (Gender Equality ), to SDG 4 (Quality Education) AND to SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities).
Spain, step up the fight