By Asmau Ahmad
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has called on all countries and donors to fully fund the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The UNAIDS said the HIV response could be gotten back on track worldwide by pledging at least 18 billion US dollars at the Seventh Global Fund Replenishment Conference hosted by the US President, Joe Biden.
The UNAIDS made the call in a statement released this week.
Speaking at the opening on behalf of the United Nations family, the Executive Director of UNAIDS Winnie Byanyima said, “Millions of lives are at stake, along with the health of us all.
“A successful replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is essential to get the world on track to end three of today’s most devastating epidemics and instill resilience into national health systems capable of withstanding tomorrow’s shocks.”
Recall that the UNAIDS, in a report released in July, alerted that the AIDs response is under severe threat from COVID-19 and the economic crisis, worsened by a continuous decline in resources.
“It showed that while HIV infections should be continuing to decline in all countries, one in five of the world’s countries house rising new HIV infections.
“The rate of new infections globally only fell by 3.6 per cent between 2020 – 2021, the smallest annual decrease since 2016.
“The report showed that women and girls continue to be disproportionally affected. A new HIV infection occurred every two minutes among young women and girls aged 15 to 24 years old in 2021.
“Children are also being left behind, currently only around half, 52 per cent of HIV-positive children were on life-saving medicines compared to 76 per cent of adults,” the UN agency revealed.
Byanyima said, “Now is the time for leaders to invest in their promise to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and to give children and young people a fighting chance at life.”
Since the establishment of the Global Fund in 2002, the UNAIDS said it has aided over 100 countries to attract, implement and leverage Global Fund investments for HIV, by ensuring funds are rightly allocated to the individuals most in need.
However, the agency noted that in recent years, the global harmony in the fight against HIV has been diminishing.
It said, “In 2021, international resources available for HIV were six per cent lower than in 2010. The HIV response in low- and middle-income countries is US$ 8 billion short of the US$ 29 billion needed by 2025 to get the world on track to end the AIDS pandemic as a global health threat by 2030.”
The UNAIDS, however, stated that there are encouraging signs as countries have started to show efforts. “The United States of America has announced that it will pledge US$ 6 billion to the Global Fund Replenishment contingent for the US$ 18 billion target to being achieved in full.
“Other donors such as Germany and Japan have already announced increases of 30 per cent in their funding pledges to the Global Fund for programmes covering the period 2024 to 2026. At its sixth replenishment conference, donors pledged US$ 14.02 billion to the Global Fund.”
“This will be our most strategic step to get ahead in our fight against current and future pandemics. The Global Fund’s model of responsive, inclusive, and transparent funding will enable our collective success. But only if it is fully funded,” Byanyima said.