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Global Fund signs $8.5 billion grants to fight HIV, TB, Malaria

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The Global Fund has signed $8.54 billion worth of grants for lifesaving programmes to reduce the burden of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in the world.

The Global Fund, in a statement published on its website on Tuesday, said it signed 157 grants for a total of $8.54 billion for lifesaving programmes to strengthen health systems globally.

“This is the highest amount of grants ever signed in a single year by the Global Fund,” it said. The implementation will begin in January.

Global Fund

The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an innovative international financing mechanism established by the United Nations in 2002, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

It is a pool where countries, public and private institutions donate money for disbursement according to HIV, TB and malaria needs of countries.

From 2001 through 2016, the largest contributor by far was the United States, followed by France, UK, Germany, and Japan.

Programmes are implemented by in-country partners such as ministries of health, while the Global Fund secretariat, whose staff only have an office in Geneva, monitors the programmes.

Implementation is overseen by Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM) and units that need to include, according to Global Fund requirements, “a broad spectrum of representatives from government, NGOs, faith-based organisations, the private sector, and people living with the diseases.”

The process

According to the statement, the Fund has a total of $12.71 billion available in funding allocations for the three-year funding cycle that runs from 2020-2022.

Of these funds, it had planned for US$8.9 billion in grants to be approved in 2020, with the remaining funds scheduled for later start dates.

However, the secretariat accelerated its grant-making efforts and exceeded the original target, approving $9.2 billion of funding in 2020.

“As of 31 December 2020, US$8.54 of the approved grants had been signed and begin implementation this month; two countries were still in the process of signing the remaining finalized grants worth US$660 million,” it said.

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Donald Kaberuka, Global Fund Board Chair said even in the midst of a global pandemic, the Global Fund partnership supported countries to develop grants more quickly and effectively than ever before.

Mr Kaberuka said a record-breaking 67 per cent of grants for the 2020-2022 funding cycle have now been signed, compared to 50 per cent of grants signed at the same time in the last funding cycle.

“In comparison, at the same time in the 2017-2019 funding cycle, the Global Fund had signed US$5.2 billion in grants out of a US$10.3 billion funding allocation.

“This is representing a remarkable increase in performance,” he said.

According to the global fund, an additional $980 million was approved to 106 low- and middle-income countries and 14 multicountry programmes to respond to COVID-19 in 2020.

It estimated that it needs a further $5 billion on top of its core funding to support countries in responding to the pandemic “by reinforcing national COVID-19 responses; mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programmes; and making urgent improvements to health and community systems.”

Exceptional

The Executive Director of the Fund, Peter Sands, described the development as an exceptional one.

He said the grants will help more than 100 countries to fight these diseases that kill millions of people yearly.

“This is an exceptional achievement that will help more than 100 countries continue the critical fight against HIV, TB and malaria – epidemics that kill more than 2.3 million people every year,” he said

Mr Sands said the COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed health systems around the world, making it important to ensure countries have the resources they need to fight HIV, TB and malaria.

He said the resources will also contribute to strengthening the systems for health needed to respond to all four diseases, including COVID-19.

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