HHS Secretary Thompson Appeals To European Parliament for More Global Fund MoneyHHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who also serves as the chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, yesterday appealed to the European Parliament's committee on development and cooperation to provide additional money to cover the fund's projected shortfalls, the Associated Press reports. Thompson said that the Global Fund will need $1.6 billion by October to pay for a third round of grants, according to the Associated Press. The European Union contributed $133 million to the Global Fund in 2002 but has not stated the amount that it will give this year (Brand, Associated Press, 5/20). The House and Senate have passed a bill (HR 1298), which is expected to be signed by President Bush, that would authorize up to $1 billion for the Global Fund in fiscal year 2004 but puts a cap on U.S. contributions based on how much other countries give (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/16). Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Britain, Italy, Sweden, Luxembourg and Belgium each made separate pledges in 2003 totaling $338 million (Associated Press, 5/20). A 51-page General Accounting Office report released earlier this month said that the Global Fund has about $250 million in pledges available to apply toward round three grants this year, leaving an estimated 2003 shortfall of $1.4 billion, and although another $500 million in pledges is available next year for rounds four and five, the fund estimates a 2004 shortfall of $3.3 billion (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/8).
Fund Needs Money To Fulfill 'Promise'
Thompson called on governments, businesses and nongovernmental organizations to contribute to the fund, according to a United States Mission to the European Union release. The Global Fund's "promise is great -- but it is a promise that will not be realized without sufficient resources to execute its mission," Thompson said, adding that shortages are "something we cannot allow to happen again" (United States Mission to the European Union release, 5/20). Thompson said that the fund will hold a donor conference in July to address the shortages and added that French President Jacques Chirac will bring up the issue at the G8 conference to be held in Evian, France, next month, according to the Associated Press. Health groups from various countries on Monday launched the "Fund the Fund" campaign to demand that wealthy countries commit more money to the Global Fund (Associated Press, 5/20). The campaign is initially focused on influencing delegates at the World Health Organization meeting in Geneva this week. "It is outrageous in the 21st century that we face a situation where we may have to make decisions on who lives and who dies because we do not have enough money to do what we have to," Massimo Barra of the Italian Red Cross, who is also an official with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said (Reuters, 5/20). Thompson said that the fund has approved 154 projects in 92 countries, committing more than $1.5 billion since April 2002 (United States Mission to the European Union release, 5/20).