Twenty years ago, the world was dealing with a pandemic that was causing the deaths of millions of people, disproportionately impacting populations in low and middle-income countries and communities. The response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 80s and 90s was uncoordinated, fragmented and freighted with stigma, ignorance and prejudice. Against this backdrop, TB and malaria were also wreaking havoc for millions, especially amongst poor populations and where health systems were weak.
The Global Fund was established to change this narrative. Launched in 2001, it was designed to tackle the health and social impact of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria on the lives of people affected by the three diseases, to serve as a coordinating funding mechanism, and to unite “world leaders, communities, civil society, health workers and the private sector to fight [the three diseases].”.
Over 20 years, the Fund has “saved an estimated 38 million lives – nearly halving the number of deaths caused by AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.” Its recently published 20 year anniversary retrospective charts the success story of the Global Fund, including its unprecedented commitment to giving all stakeholders a voice at the table, and examples of the many triumphs achieved by activists in two decades of fighting the three diseases.
The Fund’s retrospective ends with a look towards its future in a world changed by COVID-19:
We continue to work tirelessly to protect lifesaving AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs, while delivering critical supplies for the COVID-19 response to support overstretched health care systems and community health networks. If these systems collapse and health services are interrupted, the resulting increased death toll from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria will likely massively outweigh the direct impact of COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries.
GBCHealth has supported the Global Fund since its inception. Created by an initial coalition of 17 visionary companies under founding President and CEO Richard C. Holbrooke, GBCHealth has over two decades of experience helping to coordinate private sector engagement with the Fund through the Private Sector Constituency. We are proud to have played a part in the Global Fund’s success, and extend our congratulations for the milestones it has achieved. We look forward to continuing this support through future decades.