Global Fund pushes for renewed fight against HIV, TB, malaria

New campaign calls for continued action

Indigenous people in Colombia live in areas of high risk of malaria - Photo Jared Bloch

Indigenous people in Colombia live in areas of high risk of malaria - Photo Jared Bloch

[Video] Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) - A new campaign by the Global Fund against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Born HIV-free, seeks to breath new life into the fight against the three diseases that each year claim hundreds of thousands of lives.

The new push is part of a worldwide effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) outlined by the international community in 2000.

The Geneva-based Global Fund, backed by private funders and by the G8, has distributed $19.3 billion in 144 countries to support prevention, treatment and care programs against AIDS, TB and malaria. There is still much more that needs to be done to eradicate them, the group argues. Its effort to reinvigorate the fight against these diseases comes as world health experts gather in Geneva 17-21 May for the World Health Organization assembly.

The diseases

Roll Back Malaria, a UN initiative, estimates that at least $4.2 billion is needed each year to fight malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that infects around 247 million people worldwide. The number of deaths caused by malaria exceed  800,000, and 91 percent of these deaths are in Africa.

According to the WHO’s Stop TB Partnership, tuberculosis is a disease of poverty and it is the leading killer of people with HIV. If not treated, each person with TB can infect up to 15 new people each year. In 2008 alone there were over 9 million new cases while the number of deaths averaged 4,500 per day.

HIV and Aids continue to have a devastating effect in many communities around the world. According to Unaids, in 2008 there were more than two and a half million new cases of HIV. The number of people living with HIV is 33 million.

Statistics are not budging, but UN chief Ban Ki-moon points out that “if we ease up, these diseases will re-emerge.”

The campaign

The “Born HIV-free” campaign features former and current UN chiefs Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, France’s First Lady and Global Fund ambassador, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Irish music star Bono, and Global Fund donor and supporter Bill Gates.

Bruni-Sarkozy in a written statement says that this is a subject “in the shadows of larger themes like poverty and international peace and development, but one which affects all of them.”

The video was produced by the Global Fund’s Geneva-based Secretariat and includes pictures taken in countries where the Global Fund sponsors programmes. Most of the photographs were taken by John Rae, a New York photographer whose work on behalf of the international organization was recently exhibited along the waterfront  in Geneva.