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Commentary & Opinion
Global Fund at Turning Point in Eliminating "Big Three" Diseases, but Continued Support Needed

September 13, 2013

"Over the past decade, the resources provided through the [Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] have saved an estimated nine million lives and turned the tide against these terrible diseases in Africa and across the developing world," Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the coordinating minister of the Nigerian economy and minister of finance, writes in The Guardian's "Poverty Matters" blog. The fund "has provided the overwhelming majority of international funding for tackling TB, more than half of international funding for malaria, and is the second largest supporter of the global AIDS effort," she notes, adding, "HIV treatment for more than 4.2 million people, TB treatment for 9.7 million people, and 310 million bednets to prevent malaria have been funded." She states, "Importantly, all this has been achieved in a way that has strengthened the health systems of individual countries in Africa and the developing world, while proving very cost-effective."

"Despite great progress, there is no room for complacency," Okonjo-Iweala continues, writing, "The battle against these diseases has reached a critical moment, which makes the Global Fund as important as ever." She states, "Scientific advances combined with our growing knowledge of what works offer a golden opportunity to save millions more lives and improve health, thereby removing the greatest barrier to increased global prosperity and stability," adding, "If this opportunity is wasted, there is a real danger that the hard-won gains of the past decade will be reversed." She writes, "The Global Fund has proved one of the smartest and most effective investments in improving public health and development," and concludes, "By ensuring the Global Fund has the resources to step up its work, we can lift the shadow from millions more people and move our world decisively to a healthier, more stable and prosperous future" (9/12).

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