SEATTLE, Washington — Dozens of international celebrities addressed an open letter “to 7-year-olds everywhere.” Notable figures, such as Jennifer Garner, Trevor Noah, Penélope Cruz, Sir Elton John and more, recently signed an open letter against infectious diseases, specifically AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. These celebrities hope that this open letter against infectious diseases will bring awareness to these global health issues and the Global Fund that fights them.
The letter reads: “Let’s be honest, we’re leaving you with a long to-do list – fighting injustice, promoting equality, protecting the planet. But, we promise you this: over the next 11 years, we are going to do everything we can to remove one thing from that list. Actually, we’ll remove three things: AIDS. Tuberculosis. Malaria.” In addition to the promise it makes, the letter emphasizes the need to refocus funds and international attention on these goals.
An Overview: The Global Fund
Created in 2002, The Global Fund is an international organization that raised money, spreads awareness and helps to coordinate the worldwide fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Every year, the Global Fund contributes $4 billion to the fight against these infectious diseases in more than 100 different countries. The Global Fund’s efforts have saved 30 million people since it was founded. Now, with the help of famous artists and athletes, the Global Fund wants to strengthen its campaign to eliminate AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.
The Letter’s Promise
The letter states the goal of ending AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as epidemics by 2030. This year was chosen because it is the year these seven-year-olds will become adults. Their goal echoes Target 3.3 of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development set by world leaders in 2015. Target 3.3 also strives to end AIDS, tuberculosis malaria as well as other tropical diseases like hepatitis and water-borne diseases by 2030.
Past success in fighting these diseases demonstrates that coordinated, international efforts can bring AIDS, malaria and TB down from epidemic levels. Over the past 15 years, global response to these diseases has improved mortality rates and decreased cases worldwide. These efforts have saved more than 50 million lives in total. However, this progress has slowed down in recent years. The open letter hopes to draw attention to the continuing need for funds and international collaboration.
The ultimate goal of these celebrities is to raise at least $14 billion for the Global Fund, which it will use to combat these diseases over the next three years. Raising the money will demonstrate global support for these health issues. More importantly, it will help save 16 million lives worldwide, decrease mortality rates for all three diseases and set up stronger health systems by 2023. Hopefully, the letter’s impact will emphasize these issues before the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon on October 10.
As Peter Sands, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, put it, “When global leaders signed on to the Sustainable Goals, they made a promise to end the epidemics of AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030. […] By stepping up the fight, we can free the next generation from these terrible diseases.” The celebrities’ open letter against infectious diseases is helping to step up the fight by refocusing attention on these global health goals.
– Morgan Harden