Funding HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria ‘Smart Investment,’ U.N. Secretary General Ban Says
Funding programs aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is a "smart investment," United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday in a video message to a meeting in Cacares, Spain, to call on donors to fund United Nations-supported efforts against the three diseases, Xinhuanet reports.
Ban said the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will need $4 billion to meet its 2010 targets. He called on donors to increase spending, adding, "I say to you that spending on AIDS, TB and malaria is a smart investment. It is a true recovery package." Ban also called on the international community to honor commitments made at the 2005 Group of Eight Industrial Nations summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.
According to Ban, the Global Fund has committed more than $10 billion to programs in 140 countries since 2001. Global Fund programs have helped delay progression to AIDS in two million HIV-positive people, detect and treat 4.6 million TB cases, distribute 70 million insecticide-treated nets and administer 74 million malaria treatments, Ban said. He said that the Global Fund has "been a success" and has "saved millions of lives," adding, "It is important that we replenish it" (Xinhuanet, 3/30). Ban added that TB efforts cost $16 billion annually in the lowest-income communities worldwide but that containing the disease would cost $4.2 billion annually. In addition, Africa spends $12 billion annually on malaria, but $3.4 billion would fund malaria prevention and treatment annually (UN News Service, 3/30).