COLLINGSWOOD, New Jersey — Friends of the Global Fight Against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a nonprofit organization which works through advocacy to impede and confront the spread of the AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in low-income nations across the world. Based in Washington D.C., FGF works, through the education and mobilization of lawmakers, to shape U.S. policy and increase the U.S.’s financial support of the Global Fund.
The Global Fund, created in 2002, confronts the spread of these infectious diseases by financing various types of treatment and prevention programs in low-income countries where these diseases often run rampant. In the Quality of Official Development Assistance Report 2014 done by the Center for Global Development, the Global Fund was named as the top donor in maximizing efficiency.
FGF was created in 2004 in order to advocate on behalf of the Global Fund and garner a greater commitment of funds from the U.S. government. So far, they have been remarkably successful. In 2003, two years prior to the creation of FGF, the U.S. government, in their first contribution, gave $300 million to the Global Fund. In 2005, one year after the creation of FGF, the Global Fund received a subsequent donation from the U.S. government of $435 million.
This funding would continue to increase with each successive year, and in 2010, the U.S. Administration made a pledge to provide $4 billion to the Global Fund from 2011 to 2013. More recently in 2014, the U.S. government has promised $1.65 billion for the year.
However, while the U.S. is the Global Fund’s largest sponsor, it is not the sole one; on July 31, 2014, Germany voted to give 245 million euros, roughly 334 million dollars, to the cause.
These high amounts of funds secured for the Global Fund by FGF are not going to waste; there have been significant advances in the fight against all three of the targeted contagious diseases.
The Global Fund and PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, together account for approximately 80 percent of international HIV/AIDS assistance. The leading financiers in some countries, these foundations provide 90 percent of the funds for national programs against the retrovirus.
Their continued presence in AIDS initiatives around the world has already begun to yield impressive results. The Global Fund’s financial investments in programs, as of July 2014, have helped 6.6 million people receive AIDS treatment and 2.5 million HIV positive mothers receive medical services that are designed to prevent the spread of the disease to their children.
Since 2001, there has also been a 38 percent reduction of new HIV infections and AIDS deaths have fallen by 35 percent from 2005 to 2013. Within the last five years, the proportion of pregnant women with AIDS not receiving antiretroviral medicines has been cut from 67 to 32 percent.
However, this is only one of the three main diseases that the fund aims to fight. The Global Fund also works to combat the spread of tuberculosis, second only to HIV/Aids as the leading cause of deaths from infectious diseases.
Highly contagious, tuberculosis is an airborne infection responsible for a large amount of deaths in developing countries. Over 95 percent of the tuberculosis deaths worldwide occur in low and middle income nations.
Over the past 12 years, the Global Fund has given over $4 billion to fight the disease in these locations. Through the programs enacted by this large financial commitment, as of July 2014, 11.9 million cases of tuberculosis have been detected.
Furthermore, between 1990 and today, global mortality rates for the disease have fallen by 45 percent and between 1995 and 2011, an estimated 22 million lives were saved.
Malaria, which causes an estimated 627,000 deaths worldwide, has also been significantly prevented by this organization. With 57 percent of the world’s funding for malaria assistance coming from the Global Fund, the nonprofit has helped treat 430 million cases of malaria. It has also provided 410 million insecticide treated nets to further combat this disease, which is often carried by mosquitos.
From this work, between 2000 and 2012, global malaria mortality has decreased by 42 percent; the number of cases has decreased by 25 percent, as well.
As long as the Global Fund and FGF are in operation, there is no reason for the rates of these infectious diseases to stop dropping anytime soon.
– Albert Cavallaro
Sources: UNAIDS, The Kaiser Family Foundation, The Global Fight 1, The Global Fight 2, The Global Fight 3, Center for Global Development, The Global Fight 4, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Photo: The Global Fight