Funding Global Fight a Smart Investment. 02/04/09
Editor: Mu Xuequan
UNITED NATIONS, March 30 (Xinhua) -- In this time of economic turmoil, putting money behind the fight against the AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria epidemics is a "smart investment," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.
Pointing to the 4 billion U.S. dollars the Global Fund needs to meet its 2010 targets, the secretary-general told a conference held in Spain that "I say to you that spending on AIDS, TB and malaria is a smart investment. It is a true recovery package," the secretary-general said in a video message to the mid-term review meeting of the second voluntary replenishment process of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The meeting was held on Monday in Cacares, Spain, to call upon donors to fund United Nations-backed efforts to stop the spread of the deadly diseases.
"Across Africa, AIDS threatens to reduce GDP (gross domestic product) by up to 2.6 percent," Ban said.
Ban said that since 2001 the Global Fund has committed more than 10 billion dollars to health programs in 140 countries, "helping to keep parents, workers and teachers alive and productive."
Programs supported by the Global Fund have helped delay the onset of AIDS in 2 million HIV-positive people, detected and treated 4.6 million cases of TB, delivered 70 million insecticide-treated bed nets and administered 74 million malaria drug treatments, according to him.
"It has been a success. The Global Fund has saved millions of lives. It is important that we replenish it," Ban said.
According to the secretary-general, TB costs the world's poorest communities 16 billion dollars a year, whereas containing it will only cost 4.2 billion dollars a year. Similarly, malaria costs Africa 12 billion dollars a year when just 3.4 billion dollars will pay for prevention and treatment.
Ban called on the international community to honor their commitments made at the Group of Eight (G8) Gleneagles Summit in 2005 to fully fund all credible plans.