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Global Fund raises US$14.02 billion to end epidemics

The global community stepped up the fight and successfully replenished the Global Fund for 2020-2022.

(from the left) Zolelwa Sifumba, Peter Sands, Amanda Dushime, Emmanuel Macron, Bono and Bill Gates on the Conference Stage 


At the Sixth Global Fund Replenishment Conference on 10 October in Lyon, France, the global community showed their commitment to step up the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. A total of US$14.02 billion was raised. Germany increased its pledge to the Fund to EUR 1 billion and will remain the fourth largest donor during the 2020-2022 funding period.

“We are not a statistic, we are here” was the powerful message of Amanda Dushime (18) from Burundi as she spoke next to the French President, Emmanuel Macron, on behalf of young people living with HIV around the world. As the host of the conference, President Macron called on donors to increase their commitments in an urgent appeal to save more lives and achieve a better world for generations to come.

International public and private donors responded to this call for international solidarity and support of the 2030 agenda and significantly increased their pledges for the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. France itself pledged an outstanding EUR 1.296 billion, only surpassed by the United States, whose Congress announced US$1.56 billion per year and the United Kingdom with £1.4 billion for the next three years. Germany increased its pledge by 17.6% to EUR 1 billion and remains the fourth largest donor of the Fund.

Having reached its replenishment target of at least US$ 14 billion, the Fund is not only aiming to save 16 million more lives and avert 234 million new infections over the next three year period, but strives to enhance the quality of life for people living with the diseases and strengthen national health and community systems. This is an important step towards eliminating the three diseases by 2030. However, the way ahead will require continued and joint efforts by all. More African countries than ever before made pledges to the Global Fund and announced their commitment to increase domestic resources for health during the conference. This kind of leadership together with the support of civil society organizations is crucial to realize universal health coverage. To achieve the mission of the Global Fund, it is also paramount that the private sector increased its pledge by 16% to more than US$ 1 billion (US$ 760 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).

Strong systems for health are the foundation of stepping up the fight

Dr. Maria Flachsbarth at the 6th Replenishment Conference

At the pledging conference, Parliamentary State Secretary Dr. Maria Flachsbarth from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) highlighted the importance of strong and resilient health and community systems for achieving sustainable results in the fight against the three diseases. President Macron conveyed a similar message in his opening speech, stating that Global Fund programmes achieve the highest impact in countries with strong national systems as they lay the foundation for ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all. The Global Fund has also recognized the importance of health system strengthening to assure that investments made are sustained and to support successful transitions. The Fund therefore aims to invest US$ 4 billion for system-strengthening measures over the next three years.


African leaders show strong political leadership

In this spirit, the BMZ and the French Development Agency (AFD) co-organized a side event prior to the conference bringing together health ministers from Ruanda and Burkina Faso as well as representatives from the civil society, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Global Fund. They discussed how countries, partners, communities and the Global Fund can work better and more efficiently together to build stronger health systems and safeguard the gains made against the three diseases and beyond. Both ministers of health expressed their countries’ strong political commitment to improve access of all individuals and communities to quality health services. While the minister of Ruanda elaborated on the successful rollout of a national insurance scheme for primary health care, the minister of Burkina Faso emphasized the importance of supporting community structures. The civil society representative from Burkina Faso echoed their messages and emphasized the importance of access for marginalized populations and reaching the “last mile”. WHO pointed to the key role of qualified human resources for health and strong infrastructures to ensure that everyone receives the health services they need. Last but not least, the Global Fund highlighted the importance of political will and engagement of national governments to build stronger systems for health and praised the remarkable achievements of Ruanda and Burkina Faso in this regard. The panelists agreed that joint and coordinated efforts by all stakeholders, under the leadership of partner countries, are needed to end the three epidemics and make universal health coverage a reality by 2030. 


Now is the time to deliver

During the conference, the Global Fund’s Executive Director, Peter Sands, stated that, “Ending the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030 is within our reach but not yet fully in our grasp.” The successful replenishment shows the high potential of the global community when joining its forces in global solidarity. It illustrates the power of multilateralism. However, in order to deliver on the promises made, continued commitment by all actors is needed. The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All provides an excellent basis for improved coordination. Further steps need to be taken on its implementation, in particular at country level. In addition to its multilateral commitment to the Fund, Germany will therefore continue providing technical assistance to partner countries through the BACKUP Health Programme. Besides linking disease control and health system strengthening, BACKUP ensures that national coordinating mechanisms and grant risk management strategies are being strengthened.


Step up the fight

In this spirit, Parliamentary State Secretary Dr. Maria Flachsbarth ended her pledging speech with an encouraging message: “The goal of eradicating the three diseases is achievable! Let us step up the fight and get back on track!”

Frauke Roessner

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