Exploring the Global Funding for TB Eradication

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SEATTLE, Washington — Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne disease that primarily attacks the lungs of vulnerable, impoverished populations. Vulnerable individuals susceptible to contracting tuberculosis are babies, young children and those with weak immune systems. Roughly 25% of the world’s population has tuberculosis, but many have a variation that lies dormant and attacks only when or if one’s immune system is compromised. The global funding for the eradication of TB helps minimize the spread and contraction of this disease.

The World Health Organization

Minimizing the global spread of tuberculosis has been a priority of the World Health Organization (WHO). The United Nations (UN) delegated the management of global health, research, foreign country support and the analysis of global sickness patterns to the international public health organization. The WHO presented a framework for the World Health Assembly in 2014 to ensure the elimination of tuberculosis by 2035. The framework established that with global teamwork and financial resource commitments, there would be significant progress toward eliminating TB worldwide.

How The WHO’s Tuberculosis Eradication Efforts are Funded

The WHO requested all U.N. country members donate 0.1% of their research and development budgets to the WHO’s funding for the TB eradication each year. In 2017, New Zealand, South Africa and the Philippines met the WHO’s request and contributed 0.1% of their research and development budgets to TB advancement. New Zealand contributed $2,055,977 with a target of $1,800,000 (114%), South Africa gave $8,402,370 with a goal of $4,600,000 (183%), and the Philippines contributed $1,128,864 with a goal of $700,000 (161%). 

Shortcomings of The WHO’s TB Elimination Efforts

The WHO’s funding TB eradication goal has not been met with global relentlessness. According to a 2019 report on TB Research Funding Trend conducted by the Treatment Action Group, during the fiscal year of 2018, the United Kingdom, the Philippines and South Africa met the WHO’s request of 0.1% of countries’ research and development budget. However, despite the continued funding raised from the U.N. members, the WHO has yet to reach the calculated $2 billion needed to eradicate TB by 2035. 

The Global Fund

The World Health Organization is not the only, nor the most successful organization to rally international financing in support of TB eradication funding efforts. Global fundraising has been the expertise of the Global Fund since 2002. The Global Fund bolsters accomplishments such as raising and re-investing more than $4 billion in 100 countries each year. The organization has responsibilities such as raising money, deciding which counties to invest in and the supervision of currency spent by foreign governments.

The Global Fund Operations

Ninety-three percent of the funds that fuel the Global Funds’ investment efforts are obtained from nations that will eventually receive benefits from the financial backing. Moreover, 7% of the Global Funds capital for investment expenditures comes from privately-owned businesses. The Global Funds’ funding is distributed among countries by individuals who reside there and know firsthand how the money would best serve the nation. According to Global Fund statistics, in 2018, the approved funding was sent to and aided countries globally, with 72% of the budget going to sub-Saharan Africa, 20% to Asia and the Pacific, 3% to Europe and Central Asia, 3% to North Africa and the Middle East and 2% to Latin America and the Caribbean.

India, as the country with the largest number of cases of TB, received the most considerable amount of grant support from the Global Fund in 2018. India received a total of $823,237,098 divided between 13 grants. The Global Fund also reported that it delegated $45,339,616,471 in total since its founding in 2002. The $45 billion worth of investments has treated 5.3 million people worldwide, according to the fund. 

Improving Financial Support Globally

The millions of individuals treated by not only the Global Fund but also by the World Health Organization’s efforts have lifted some of the burden of the disease globally. The Global Fund’s stringent approval and monitoring process could be the critical factor that lands them continuously high donations. It could benefit the World Health Organization to consider alternative options to encourage U.N. members to further contribute to its efforts. Nevertheless, international organizations and countries worldwide must continue to work together to reach the WHO’s 2035 elimination target and make the eradication of TB a reality.  

—DeAndre’ Robinso
Photo: Flickr

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