Sept. 30, 2013, 5:46 p.m.
Strong Leadership by the UK Inspires Us All
By Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Leadership means taking bold action. The United Kingdom showed extraordinary leadership in global health this week by announcing an unequivocal commitment to fighting three of the world’s most infectious diseases. People affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in communities across our planet can rejoice in the knowledge that many more people will be able to live normal lives thanks to the support of the UK and other partners in our collective effort.
The UK has displayed remarkable long-term vision with this commitment. Its contribution of £1 billion to the Global Fund for 2014-2016 can allow people in many countries – from presidents to community organizations to health workers – to transform their countries by fighting HIV, TB, and malaria. The Global Fund is privileged to support their efforts to build health systems that will thrive and grow. When a family in Africa receives a net to protect its members from the bite of a malaria-infected mosquito, or when an HIV-positive pregnant woman in South East Asia gets treatment to prevent transmitting the disease to her baby, we are investing in the future. Together, with all our partners, we know that there is no better investment than health.
We are at a critical moment with these deadly diseases and every dollar, and pound, now counts. Scientific advances mean we are within reach of defeating and removing HIV, TB and malaria as threats to public health, but we need to continue working in close partnership in order not to miss this historic opportunity. By pooling resources we will be better positioned to be more effective. The UK contribution encourages others to contribute more to the fight.
The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is a well-established champion in the global effort to end extreme poverty, working directly in 28 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The Global Fund’s work with partners is deeply interconnected, not only in funding, but in implementation and in other areas. DFID has played a pivotal role in implementing many of our programs and grants. We laud its 2015 target of helping halve malaria deaths in 10 of the worst affected countries. Our British partners know the Global Fund offers good value-for-money and that our results are transparent.
The UK has been a robust advocate of our reforms, which have allowed us to become a more efficient, twenty-first century organisation, with an ability to respond more effectively to the needs of implementing countries by better engaging with our partners and aligning our grants more closely to national health programs.
The Global Fund has supported work by our partners that has achieved a great deal since we started in 2002. There is a lot more to do. Our common goal – to get these three deadly diseases under control – is within reach if we continue working together. We are immensely grateful to the British people for allowing us to play a role in saving and dramatically improving the lives of millions of people, their families, communities and countries. We are strongly encouraging all partners to follow the example of the United Kingdom and to commit more to the Global Fund as we raise funds for our next three-year period. Let’s seize the moment.