Thailand To Receive $209 Million Global Fund Grant; Largest Fund Grant to Asian Country
Sudarat Keyuraphan, public health minister of Thailand, on Monday announced that the country had secured a $209.7 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the largest fund grant ever given to an Asian country, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 3/10). The new grant, which is expected to be signed by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem next month, expands on an earlier grant, set to end this year, which provided $20 million to the country to combat the three diseases. The money will be used to increase access to antiretroviral drugs, provide other treatment for AIDS patients, reduce vertical transmission from HIV-positive mothers to their children, and reduce the incidence of tuberculosis and malaria, particularly along the borders of the country, according to Suwit Wibulpolprasert, deputy public health permanent secretary. The grant will provide an additional 60,000 people access to antiretroviral drugs, according to Keyuraphan (Bangkok Post, 3/11). Approximately 670,000 people in Thailand, representing more than 1% of the population, are HIV-positive, according to UNAIDS (Shevajumroen, Nation, 3/11). Each year, 80,000 to 100,000 Thai people are infected with TB, and 25% of them are HIV-positive, according to health ministry statistics. These statistics have risen in recent years, due in part to the recent influx of migrant workers and the concurrent development of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis and malaria. Prevention and treatment programs will attempt to provide services to this population (Associated Press, 3/10). Sudarat said that the Thai government will contribute $1 million to the fund over five years as a show of the country's desire to help other countries "obtai[n] better health conditions," according to the Post. Feachem called Thailand a global leader in disease treatment and prevention, adding, "It is our hope and expectation that the global fund's support to scaling up Thailand's fight against these diseases will achieve rapid results and provide us with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to the world the major impact additional funding can have in reducing human suffering." The Global Fund this fall will host its first board meeting in a developing country in Thailand (Bangkok Post, 3/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.