Canada Should Continue To Contribute Its ‘Fair Share’ to Global Fund, Opinion Piece Says
As the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria faces a shortfall of about $4 billion to "meet the demand for the funding of projects in 2009 and 2010" and donor countries "are being asked to top off their existing contributions," Canada "need[s] to build on [its] support and leadership," Stephen St. Denis, a volunteer with the grassroots advocacy group RESULTS Canada, writes in a Hamilton Spectator opinion piece. St. Denis writes that the Global Fund, "with its bottom-up, results-oriented approach," is a "model mechanism for mobilizing resources to address the most serious global health problems of our time." The organization addresses the "formidable challenges" of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, which cause millions of deaths and "disable hundreds of millions" in developing countries annually," he writes, adding that the "economic and social destruction caused by these three diseases is devastating."
St. Denis writes that the Global Fund is, "by all estimations, one of the leanest and meanest organizations ever to come into existence." It has approved grants in 137 countries, provided more than two million antiretroviral treatments, 4.6 million TB treatments and 70 million insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria. "In addition, they have also helped strengthen local health systems and fund training, prevention and education programs," St. Denis writes, continuing that the Global Fund's "bottom line is that it has helped save 3.5 million lives in its short existence."
According to St. Denis, Canada is "second-last among" the Group of Eight industrialized nations "in terms of total pledges" to the Global Fund. Canada's "fair share of 5% of the shortfall would be an additional" 250 million Canadian dollars -- or about $200 million -- "over two years," St. Denis continues, adding, "Failure to contribute our fair share would be a major stain on our reputation of being a caring nation." He concludes, "We cannot act like innocent bystanders while the carnage from AIDS, TB and malaria causes millions of people to suffer and die needlessly" (St. Denis, Hamilton Spectator, 4/24).