Businesses Should Become More Involved in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, New Global Fund Director Says
Businesses should become increasingly involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria because only 5% of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria's income comes from the private sector, new Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine said on Monday, Reuters reports. "Certainly, the private sector can increase its contributions," Kazatchkine said, adding, "The needs are enormous." In addition to monetary pledges, businesses could offer personnel or other in-kind donations to support HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria programs in developing countries, Kazatchkine said. He added that they also could help sponsor specific programs in countries where they operate. Kazatchkine did not say if pharmaceutical companies should be called on to provide drug donations, adding that the Global Fund's governing board plans to discuss the issue later this year. "It is an area to explore, but obviously, there are potential conflicts of interest," he said, adding, "I would primarily expect companies to try to decrease their prices rather than maintain high prices and provide in-kind donations of drugs." According to Kazatchkine, one of his priorities as Global Fund executive director will to be secure increasingly reliable funding for the organization. He added that reliable funding is particularly important for HIV/AIDS programs because HIV-positive people need to adhere to their treatment regimens to avoid developing drug resistance. "We need the resources to be sustainable," Kazatchkine said, adding, "We will be looking particularly at whether donors can commit for longer periods of time." According to Kazatchkine, last year's donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as contributions from Product RED, are positive steps in expanding the Global Fund's resources (MacInnis, Reuters, 4/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.