Global Fund Should Focus on ‘Wider Factors’ Involved in Fighting Diseases, Editorial Says
The "only sound public health and human rights approach" for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to take is to begin addressing the "wider factors" involved in fighting the three diseases, a Lancet Infectious Diseases editorial says. As the Global Fund approaches its upcoming round seven meeting -- scheduled for Nov. 11 through 13 -- to examine funding proposals, there is an "opportunity to do more," according to the editorial. The Global Fund should "be bold enough to expand" its scope to include broader health factors involved in tackling the three diseases, the editorial says.
The "current lack of support" for the Global Fund is "disappointing" and "dangerously short-sighted" because the organization has "established itself as the major player in the fight against" the three diseases, the editorial says. However, it is "easy to be distracted by the Global Fund's financial worries, and there are other key factors at play that may limit its effectiveness," according to the Lancet. There has been "[c]onsiderable criticism" directed toward the Global Fund's disease-specific approach, which many say "distorts comprehensive health planning" and "does not contribute to overall health system strengthening," the editorial says. Nevertheless, the current funding round guidelines state that applicants can request funds for health infrastructure building if these projects are essential to reducing the impact and spread of HIV/AIDS, TB or malaria, the editorial says. It adds that this is a "welcome step" because it shows that the Global Fund is prepared to take more of a "whole-systems approach" to reducing the burden of infectious diseases in "resource-poor countries."
"Expanding its remit to include a greater focus on the wider issues would be the right thing to do," the editorial says, concluding, "It is time for the Global Fund to rise to the challenge" (Lancet Infectious Diseases, November 2007).