The Global Fund is a public-private partnership that was founded in 2002. To my surprise the Global Fund is simply a financing organization that does not implement ground level initiatives and fieldwork.
The three core principles of the Global Fund include:
- Country Ownership: individual countries have the complete decision-making power to decide which priorities are most pertinent to their respective countries
- Performance-Based Financing: providing funding to countries based on the priorities set out by individual countries
- Partnership: involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process
The primary health initiatives that the Global Fund undertakes include decreasing the burden of disease for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria through mechanisms of disease detection, management, and treatment and prevention.
Approximately 35 million people are living globally with HIV and shockingly 1 out of 2 people infected with HIV do not know they are infected. This causes downstream effects of HIV transmission and HIV conversion to AIDS among infected individuals. With the funding provided by the Global Fund, the number of AIDS-related deaths decreased from 2 million (2004) to 1.1 million (2014) which approximates to a decline of 40%. This can be attributed to the efforts of the Global Fund to provide ARV treatment for HIV to more than 8.6 million affected people.
TB is a disease of poverty that affects individuals living in overcrowded conditions, suffering from malnutrition and with limited access to health care services. Through funding initiatives of the Global Fund 15 million people have received TB treatment, which has made a significant impact on the number of TB-related deaths (decline in 29% 2000-2014). TB drug treatment has been found to be 97% effective if compliance is maintained.
Unlike HIV/AIDS and TB, malaria is a condition that is caused by a mosquito vector. From 2015 data, approximately 214 million cases of malaria have been documented globally. Funding initiatives through the Global Fund has provided at-risk communities with over 600 million mosquito nets. In addition to net prevention techniques, the Global Fund provides funding for indoor residual spraying, access to rapid diagnostic testing and to medication treatment therapies.
Since its inception, the Global Fund has been successful in making lasting impacts on the health of communities affected by HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. One of the greatest takeaways from our discussion with the Global Fund was the importance of timing and word choice in advocating for public health initiatives and funding. This concept is nicely reflected in Ernest Hemingway’s quote- “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
Isha Kalia a Master of Public Health student at the University of Southern California.
The USC Institute for Global Health organizes an annual trip to the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the course “Global Health Governance & Diplomacy in Practice in Geneva at the World Health Assembly.” This year, a group of 12 students are embedded as delegates to NCD Alliance members at the 69th World Health Assembly May 23-28.
Featured image courtesy Dawn Chisholm.