The UK will support an international aid group in fighting three major pandemics by pleding $1.6 billion to the fund. The pledged amount of money is second only to the U.S., which has asked to give $1.65 billion to the Geneva-based Global Fund in 2014.
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an international funding institution that was developed in 2002 in order to galvanize the fight against the three pandemics. It provides aid in the form of training, equipment, and resources to 151 countries.
UK overseas aid minister Justine Greening said in a statement that “AIDS, TB and malaria are among the world’s biggest killers despite being entirely preventable and treatable.”
The Global Fund believes the world may halve the amount of deaths in 1990 caused by TB by 2015. Tuberculosis is one of the leading infectious diseases causing fatalities worldwide, next to AIDS. It’s caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which typically attacks the lungs but is capable of attacking other parts of the body including organs or the spine.
Though AIDS still affects some 34 million people, most of them living in sub-Sahara Africa, the number of deaths caused by the HIV virus has dropped significantly since the introduction of HAART, or highly active anti-retroviral therapy – from 2.2 million deaths in the mid-2000s to 1.7 million in 2011. 91 percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa, and about 3.3 billion people worldwide are at risk of contracting the disease.
Britain’s pledge was announced in New York before the beginning of the United Nations General Assembly. Both Sweden and Norway also pledged money to the fund, at US$750 million for 2014-2016.
The Global Fund’s goal is to gather $15 billion to bring the three pandemics under control within the next three years. In a statement, the Chair of the Board of the Global Fund praised the UK’s step as “an inspiring model of responsible global citizenship.”
"This commitment will underlie a transformative step forward for the Global Fund and partners in their fight to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria," Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, Chair of the Board of the Global Fund, said.