International Treatment Preparedness Coalition - statement on Global Fund
NSWP fully supports the statement (published in full below) released by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) concerning the decision taken in Accra by the Global Fund on the cancellation of R11 funding with broader implications for all unsigned Round 10 grants (80 with a value of $1.2 billion) and all phase two renewals.
We join ITPC in calling on donors to take action on replenishing the Global Fund.
The ITPC statement reads:
Cancellation of Funding By Global Fund Endangers Human Lives: International Network of Treatment Advocates Calls on Donor Governments to Step Forward to End Crisis
(Bangkok, 26 November 2011) The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition regrets the cancellation of Round 11 by the Global Fund to Fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This is a direct threat to the lives of millions living with HIV and a tremendous setback to expanding AIDS treatment access for all those in need.
The Global Fund is one of the most significant institutions in a fight against AIDS. The number of people dying of AIDS-related causes fell to 1.8 million in 2010, down from a peak of 2.2 million [2.1-2.5 million] in mid-200s. According to UNAIDS, a total of 2.5 million deaths since 1995 have been averted in low- and middle-income since the introduction of antiretroviral therapy. Much of that success has come in the past two years when rapid scale-up of access to treatment; in 2010 alone, 700,000 AIDS-related deaths were averted. Global Fund resources are the reason for this tremendous success.
The lives of 3.2 million people who depend on Global Fund support for their HIV treatment are now in jeopardy as funds dry up and existing treatment programs may have to shut their doors. People who would have been spared from death will now instead fall ill and die. Ironically, such decisions are being made at a time when scientific evidence demonstrates that ARV treatment can both saves lives and prevent new infections. Rather than implementing ambitious plans to scale up the provision of treatment as outlined by U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in her address earlier this month, countries and communities will now need to discuss how best to manage a treatment scale-down.
The shortfall in funding for the Global Fund is $10 billion, an insignificant amount in comparison to the bank bailouts made by the US and European governments or even the bonuses set aside for Goldman Sachs executives this year. Instead the Global Fund has put in place an emergency “transition mechanism” to safeguard only those countries that have current Global Fund grants and who will face program disruption between 1 January 2012 and 31 March 2014. The restricted funding can only be used for essential prevention, treatment, and/or care services. However, such decisions will be devastating for organisations working in communities around the world.
Trends indicate that funding for HIV had already begun to flatline by the end of the last decade. Last year the Global Fund failed to raise the minimum $13 billion that was needed to maintain its current programmes. And of the overall $20 billion target, it raised roughly one-half, with $11.5 billion secured in pledges. To make matters worse, this year the Global Fund has been struggling with addressing the misuse of funds by recipients in a number of countries.
The lack of political and financial commitment to the AIDS response is deeply worrisome, and the millions of people living with and fighting against these deadly diseases will pay an enormous price. Rather than building on the new evidence that AIDS treatment saves lives and prevents new infections and scaling up treatment programs to try to end this epidemic, donor governments are now implicitly supporting a policy of triage, determining who lives and who dies. Failure to invest in the fight against AIDS now simply means a return to the days of daily funerals and overflowing hospital wards. The virus doesn’t wait on the whims of donors. The decision by donors will entrench the epidemic once again around the world, drastically increasing the costs of containing it when the world’s leaders once again wake up to the crisis around them.
This is a crisis of conscience in which donor nations are ready to let millions die needless deaths. ITPC calls upon all its coalition partners to resist and challenge donors and decision makers. The AIDS epidemic is far from over, but with a sustained commitment to comprehensive treatment, prevention and care services, it is still possible in our lifetime to create an AIDS-Free Generation.