Friends on the Frontline Third Quarter 2015

Looking Forward to New Opportunities in Global Health

A Message from Deb Derrick, President of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

This quarter marked an exciting period of transition in global health, as the global community gathered in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) – including SDG 3, which seeks to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all ages with an emphasis on the fights against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Global health partners have also been working progressively on plans for the Global Fund’s Fifth Voluntary Replenishment in 2016.

During UNGA, the Global Fund and the government of Japan also hosted an important side event at the UN Secretariat, “The Path Towards Universal Health Coverage: The Promotion of Equitable Global Health and Human Security in the Post-2015 Development Era,” at which Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and representatives from the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the governments of Liberia, France, Senegal and Thailand stressed the importance of growing domestic investments in health and universal health care programs. Japan, a critical ally in global health and the Global Fund’s fifth largest donor, announced in the spring that it will host the Pre-Replenishment Meeting in Tokyo on Dec. 17, 2015.

In September, Friends of the Global Fight was pleased to host an UNGA side event strategy breakfast for international Global Fund advocates, featuring remarks by Norbert Hauser, Global Fund Board Chair; Joe Cerrell, Managing Director of Global Policy and Advocacy for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis; as well as additional UN partners, international Friends organizations, private sector stakeholders and representatives from the African Union.

Last week, Friends also had the opportunity to participate with Global Fund representatives at a meeting of African Union (AU) ambassadors, at which AU diplomats were briefed on progress in the implementation of AU health policy frameworks that are due to expire at the end of 2015, including the Abuja targets and the AU Roadmap; tremendous milestones, remaining challenges and emerging issues surrounding health in Africa; and next steps in achieving universal health access.

The AU ambassadors pledged to advocacy efforts to support a fully funded Global Fund in the 2016 replenishment cycle. Seventeen diplomatic missions were represented, including the ambassadors to the United States for Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda, the AU Mission to the USA, and representatives from the embassies of Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Looking to the final quarter of 2015, Friends looks forward to participating in additional events that will unite advocates in the global fights against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, including the Global Fund Board Meeting on Nov. 16-17, World AIDS Day activities on Dec. 1, and the aforementioned high-level meetings in Japan in mid-December to support progress toward universal health care and the Global Fund 2016 replenishment.

News from Capitol Hill

During July, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY 2016 appropriations bill for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs, providing $8.47 billion for global health programs, including almost $6 billion for global HIV/AIDS programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund; $669.5 million for the President’s Malaria Initiative; and $236 million for bilateral tuberculosis programs. The Senate bill restored the $244 million in cuts to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs included in the President’s FY 2016 budget request, funding the Global Fund at $1.35 billion.

On Sept. 30, policymakers avoided a government shutdown by passing a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government at FY 2015 levels through Dec. 11. The agreement keeps total funding for State and Foreign Operations at current levels, or $50.9 billion, for the length of the CR. The CR represents no change in funding to the Global Fund; the U.S. contribution currently remains at $1.35 billion.

The Global Fund Results Report

On Sept. 21, 2015, the Global Fund issued its 2015 Results Report, summarizing the organization’s impact both over the past year and cumulatively in fighting the three diseases. The report indicates that health investments made through the Global Fund have saved 17 million lives as of the end of 2014, expanding opportunity and achieving greater social justice for families and communities worldwide. What’s more, the report shows that recent scientific advances are further accelerating progress, enabling the Global Fund to be on track to reach 22 million lives saved by the end of 2016.

Additionally, the report found a decline of one-third fewer deaths from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria since 2002 in countries receiving Global Fund investments. The report indicates that 8.1 million people are receiving antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS through Global Fund-supported programs, a 22 percent increase since last year; 548 million mosquito nets have been distributed to protect against malaria; and 13.2 million people have received treatment and care for tuberculosis.

This Friends infographic further visualizes these stunning achievements.

Highlights from the Fight

  • The Global Fund Results Report was cited extensively in a piece by Friends’ President Deb Derrick, published by Huffington Post. The op-ed reflects on progress under the Millennium Development Goals, stresses the importance of global health under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and highlights how steady investment in the Global Fund through next year’s replenishment will be a key component in SDG 3’s success.
  • WHO, in conjunction with UNICEF, released “Achieving the malaria MDG target: reversing the incidence of malaria 2000–2015” in September. This report highlights the remarkable progress the world has seen in halting and reversing the rate of malaria incidence around the globe. But it also outlines a strategy to further decrease incidence by 90 percent by 2030.
  • Also in September, a member of Friends’ staff attended the third Global Fund Partnership Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This two-day conference brought together civil society, non-governmental organizations and Global Fund representatives to discuss plans for the Global Fund’s next five-year strategy and how to best implement sustainable change to accelerate the end of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as epidemics.
  • In August, Friends published new fact sheets about HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Each guide provides up-to-date statistics and figures, as well as information about successes, global investment and what more needs to be done in the fight against these diseases.
  • In July, Dr. Brian Brink, a former private sector delegate to the Global Fund, discussed why investments in malaria control offer a sustainable return on investment for the private sector. His op-ed, published by Skoll World Forum, describes how investing in health can positively impact economies as well as businesses’ bottom lines.
  • Deb Derrick penned an op-ed in the Huffington Post in July, reflecting on Secretary of State John Kerry’s leadership and commitment to global health.
  • Also in July, surrounding the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Friends published a Storify multimedia piece, “9 Reasons Countries Should Grow Domestic Health Investments Now.”