Australia Pledges $20 Million to Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, Malaria
Australia on Wednesday announced a three-year, $20 million pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Reuters reports (Reuters, 2/17). Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that the funding was in addition to the country's six-year, $160 million global AIDS initiative, which was launched in 2000. Australia had delayed contributing to the Global Fund because of the bilateral programs it had already established to fight the three diseases and because the country wanted to "wait and see how the Global Fund would work out," Downer said. "In those two years, we have been pretty impressed with the Global Fund. I think it's done an excellent job," he added (Australian Associated Press, 2/18). Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said that Australia was recognized as a world leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS and he hoped its decision to donate to the Global Fund would encourage other countries to do the same (Agence France-Presse, 2/18). However, Feachem said that Australians and other Westerners did not yet understand the extent of the destruction being wrought by the AIDS epidemic (Australian Associated Press, 2/18). "If you look at the world today, we are losing the battle rapidly," Feachem said, adding, "What the Global Fund is doing is financing the beginnings of a huge counter attack, but this huge counter attack is only just beginning to roll out" (Reuters, 2/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.