Gates Foundation Announces $50M Contribution to the Global Fund at XV International AIDS Conference
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, announced it will contribute an additional $50 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, bringing its total contribution to $150 million, the AP/Billings Gazette reports. Dr. Helene Gayle, director of the Gates Foundation HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program, made the announcement at an evening event hosted by former South African President Nelson Mandela. "The Global Fund is an extraordinary model for financing the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria," Gayle said, adding, "We urge governments, the private sector and other donors to dramatically increase their contributions to the fund -- their generosity can help save millions of lives" (AP/Billings Gazette, 7/15). Mandela, who came out of retirement to attend the conference, said that the Gates Foundation's contribution was an important sign of leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.
Although the Global Fund has enough money -- $3.8 billion -- to meet its needs through the end of the year, it has received pledges for a total of only $2 billion for 2005 through 2008, which is far below the $3.6 billion the fund estimates it will need in 2005 alone. Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said, "We applaud the leadership by the Gates Foundation in making this contribution and signaling its continued support for the Global Fund -- especially at this critical moment when increased funding is so important. This will help leverage further funds from additional donors." Since it began funding projects in 2002, the Global Fund has approved proposals for almost 300 grants for projects in 128 countries.
The session featured the premiere of "46664: The Message," a film based on the 46664 concert held in Cape Town in November 2003 (Gates Foundation release, 7/15). Mandela launched "46664" -- named after his prison number during his nearly 20-year incarceration at the South African prison Robben Island -- in October 2003 as a phone and Internet campaign to raise awareness and money to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Mandela officially retired from public life on June 1 to complete his autobiography, but decided to make the trip to Bangkok to address the delegates following the film's screening (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/8).
A webcast of the session and the film will be available online from kaisernetwork.org after 12 p.m. on Friday, July 16.