Global Fund's $9.2 billion commitment: Turning the tide against malaria, TB, and HIV

By Hisham Allam

Global Fund's $9.2 billion commitment: Turning the tide against malaria, TB, and HIV

In a significant stride for global health, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has sanctioned US$9.2 billion in new grants, effective from 2024. This crucial funding is poised to bolster the efforts of over 70 countries in their ongoing battle against these three diseases.

This milestone initiative builds upon the remarkable achievement of securing US$15.7 billion in November 2022. This record-breaking funding paved the way for the approval of unprecedented investments aimed at combating HIV, TB, and malaria, while at the same time strengthening health systems.

Peter Sands, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, underscored the critical importance of maintaining progress against malaria, TB and AIDS amidst the myriad challenges faced by vulnerable populations worldwide.

“Sustaining our progress against the world’s deadliest diseases and helping build more resilient and inclusive systems for health will save millions of lives, address glaring health inequities, and enable communities to flourish,” he stated.

Referring to the impact the fund’s activities have on eligible states, Sands cited as an example a partnership between the governments of Mozambique and Eswatini, backed by a US$24 million grant, to accelerate malaria elimination in southeastern Africa. He confirmed that some provinces in the region have recorded a 53% decrease in malaria cases over the past few years.

“This initiative has protected some three million people from the disease, greatly reducing cross-border transmission.”

Africa is the worst-hit continent in terms of malaria and HIV/AIDS. In 2022 alone, it was home to a staggering 94% of the world’s malaria cases which translates to a massive 233 million infections. Even more alarming, 95% (or 580,000) of global malaria deaths occurred in Africa, with children under five tragically accounting for about 80% of these fatalities.

The fight against HIV/AIDS is showing signs of success with new infections decreasing. Nonetheless, the figures remain high. In 2021, an estimated 25.6 million people in Africa were HIV positive, with 760,000 new infections occurring in 2022. While this reflects a reduction in new infections per capita, the human cost remains enormous.

With regard to TB, the worst-hit region is South-Eastern Asia which accounted for over 45% of newly reported cases.

“It is estimated that in 2022, more than 4.8 million people fell ill with TB and more than 600,000 died (excluding HIV+TB mortality) because of the disease which is more than half of global TB deaths,” the World Health Organization noted in a report.

Africa comes second, with TB fatalities representing 33% of the global death toll.

As of September 2023, the Global Fund approved more than US$66 billion in funding to fight three of the world’s deadliest diseases. Created in 2002, its largest public donors are the USA, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. According to its 2023 report, in 20 years the Global Fund has saved 59 million lives. In 2022 alone due to its partnerships, 24.5 million people benefited from HIV therapy, 6.7 million people with TB were treated, and 220 million mosquito nets were distributed.