Thompson Says United States’ Initial $300M Gift to Global Fund to Be Sent Immediately
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, the U.S. representative to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, yesterday said that the United States' initial contribution of $300 million will be made available to the fund "by the end of the week" and noted that the contribution could grow to more than $500 million by the end of the year, the Associated Press reports. The United States has already earmarked $300 million for the fund, and President Bush has asked for an additional $200 million in this year's budget. "At the end of this year we will have contributed at least $500 million, but Congress has the opportunity and usually increases the amount of money. So I would say it would probably be higher than $500 million by the time Congress gets through with it this fall," Thompson explained. The global fund was established last year after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said an annual "war chest" of $7 billion to $10 billion was needed to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in the developing world. The United States was the first, and remains the largest, donor to the fund. However, the administration has been criticized for not allocating enough to the fund. At the fund's board meeting this week in New York City, Annan said that the fund must act "as an effective complement to other actors" involved in combating the three diseases, including governments, non-governmental agencies, international organizations and the private sector (Lederer, Associated Press, 4/23). According to Annan, the fund faces three major challenges: "moving quickly," ensuring that fund resources have a "maximum impact where they are most needed" and assisting in the mobilization of additional "commitment and resources." To meet these challenges, the board will have to "walk a tightrope -- balancing the need to work quickly with the need for careful consultation with a wide range of stakeholders," he said (Annan speech text, 4/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.