We have collective power to defeat HIV, TB

NATALIE Brown

What you need to know:

The positive impact of the Global Fund on the lives of Ugandans can be seen through strategic investments...

Over the past 20 years, the Global Fund has been committed to what matters – defeating HIV, TB, and malaria, ending health inequity, and protecting humanity from pandemics. 

With more than $53 billion dollars invested across the world, it has helped save more than 50 million lives and reduced the combined death rate from these diseases by more than half in countries where Global Fund invests, including Uganda.

This global health partnership raises funds every three years from governments, the private sector, and NGOs to replenish the fund.

President Joe Biden will convene leaders and supporters of the Global Fund in New York on September 21, to raise at least $18 billion for the next three-year grant cycle.

This is the minimum amount needed to save an estimated 20 million more lives – by reducing HIV, TB, and malaria deaths by 64 percent – and to strengthen resilient and sustainable health and community systems to reinforce pandemic preparedness, making the world more equitable and safer from future threats. Uganda is a recipient country; $2 billion dollars have been invested in Uganda since 2003 to fight against the three diseases, and build health and community systems, in addition to $120 million from Global Fund for the Covid-19 response.

And importantly, the government of Uganda is a significant contributor to the seventh Global Fund replenishment with a pledge of up to $3 million dollars.  This represents a 50 percent increase from the previous three-year period.  As both a contributor and recipient country supported by the Global Fund, Uganda is truly demonstrating its commitment to ending these epidemics by 2030 and building stronger and more resilient systems for health.

The positive impact of the Global Fund on the lives of Ugandans can be seen through strategic investments in communities, human rights advocacy, gender equality, and essential medications across Uganda.

Just last week a community group gathered to review an assessment supported by the Global Fund.  Examining the impact of Covid-19 on access to HIV, TB, malaria, sexual and reproductive health rights services, and gender-based violence protection services across eight regional referral hospitals the assessment enables a better understanding of and response to the needs of diverse communities.  The review also showed that the Global Fund’s successful community-based mentorship and peer-model programs have made strides to reduce stigma, discrimination, and violence, and increase access to services for people already living with or at highest risk of HIV.

For instance, the Global Fund and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief both support Young People and Adolescent Peer Support groups that provide a community and sense of belonging for people living with HIV, and a platform to share accurate prevention and treatment information.

By combining our efforts and investments, YAPS groups are expanding to every district in Uganda. The United States government, continuing its unwavering support of the Global Fund, pledged up to $6 billion dollars over the next three years, sending a clear signal of financial support and expectations for global partnership in the next funding cycle.

In the new strategy, the Global Fund sets out an ambitious yet achievable path toward the goal of ending HIV, malaria, and TB as public health threats while contributing to achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

 We have the collective power to defeat HIV, TB, and malaria and end health inequity.  We appeal to other countries to join the United States and Uganda in responding to the urgency of the moment.  Our lives depend on it.

The writer is the US Ambassador to Uganda.

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