Global Fund Executive Director Feachem To Retire
Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in a statement on Friday announced that he plans to retire after his term ends in July, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Feachem has served as head of the organization for almost four years, during which the Global Fund has received pledges of more than $8.5 billion from countries and pledged $4.9 billion to fight diseases in 131 countries, according to the Chronicle (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/7). Feachem, who cited both professional and personal reasons for his decision, said he would continue to serve as executive director past the expiration of his term to allow "sufficient time for an adequate and orderly transition period" (Global Fund release, 3/3). Randall Tobias, head of the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, on Friday said Feachem was a successful advocate for the Global Fund. During Feachem's tenure, there has been an "extraordinary acceleration of international spending for diseases" in developing countries, according to the Chronicle. In addition, his support for low-cost, generic HIV/AIDS medications helped the Global Fund distribute antiretroviral drugs -- many of which were generics -- to about 384,000 HIV-positive people, the Chronicle reports. However, the Global Fund "fell far short" of the hopes of some of its advocates, the Chronicle reports. Brook Baker, policy analyst for the Health Gap Coalition and professor at Northeastern University School of Law, said, "The Global Fund has never come close to the cruising altitude originally envisioned," adding that Feachem appeased major donors like the U.S. by saying their "contribution was sufficient, but all the while the U.S. was undercutting the Global Fund." The U.S. is the largest contributor to the Global Fund, but "the Bush administration has placed the lion's share of its overseas AIDS spending into the president's own program emphasizing direct assistance to hard-hit countries," the Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.