Today, on the eve of World TB Day, 2012 three UK NGOs are warning that a US$1.7bn reduction in funding to tackle TB over the next five years will affect the treatment of 3.4 million TB patients and could result in reversing the gains that have been made in tackling the disease. They are calling on the UK Government to join other donors and hold an emergency replenishment for the Global Fund at the G20 meeting in Mexico, June 2012.
Since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was established it has helped avert 4.1 million deaths from TB alone. However RESULTS UK, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Stop AIDS Campaign say that it no longer has the resources to continue expanding its work. The Global Fund is currently providing nearly a quarter of all international funding to fight AIDS, over half of the funding against malaria and more than four-fifths of all funding to fight TB.
Aaron Oxley, Executive Director, RESULTS UK said: “Thanks to sustained efforts from the Global Fund, TB cases have been in decline but with the current lack of resources there is scope for severe backsliding on the progress we have made. This is disappointing and worrying news as we have a real chance of seeing an end to TB in our lifetimes.”
TB is a huge killer of people living with HIV. More than 350,000 people living with HIV died because of TB in 2010. Efforts to tackle malaria are equally impacted by the Global Fund funding crisis.
Mr Michael Gwaba, a TB-HIV Patient-Advocate from Zambia who is concerned about the implications of the funding cuts added: “I have seen the Global Fund work – I’m alive thanks to its investments in Zambia. But right now we now risk reversing the gains we have made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. Millions of people are now on TB treatment, HIV positive mothers are now able to give birth to HIV negative babies and malaria death rates have declined because of the increase in use of tools such as insecticide treated mosquito nets. But without new investment fast, those still waiting for treatment and care won’t be as lucky as I have been”.
The organisations are calling for donor governments to honour theirfunding pledges and commit funds to sustain and scale up the work of the Global Fund, and for national governments to increase their contribution to health budgets.
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