Global Fund Might Not Award Grants in 2005 if Funding Shortfall Not Alleviated, Executive Director Says
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria faces a "critical year" in 2005 because of funding shortfalls, and it might not be able to award new grants, Executive Director Richard Feachem said in an interview on Thursday while attending an international pharmaceutical industry meeting in Spain, Reuters reports. In order to carry out its work for 2005, the Global Fund needs at least $2.5 billion in funding, but it has secured only $1.6 billion from donors, according to Reuters. Approximately $200 million in 2004 funding likely will carry over to 2005, but financial commitments for existing programs will consume $1.3 billion next year, leaving only $500 million available for new grants in 2005. However, because twice that amount of funding was available for grants during previous rounds, it is "unclear" whether a new round of funding will be approved when the organization's board meets in Tanzania from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19, Reuters reports. "The danger facing the Global Fund is that the board will decide not to launch a Round Five next year," Feachem said, adding, "Zero rounds in 2005 would be a catastrophe. ... It would be a major loss of momentum for the world's new financing mechanism against AIDS, TB and malaria and a betrayal of the vision and the trust and the hope that is placed in the Global Fund." However, Feachem added that he "still hopes governments will dig deep to provide new funds," especially following a Group of Eight meeting in July 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland, according to Reuters. In 2003, the G8 proposed that financial commitments to the Global Fund total $3 billion annually. French President Jacques Chirac recommended that the United States donate $1 billion, Europe donate $1 billion and other countries donate an additional $1 billion in total pledges (Hirschler, Reuters, 10/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.