Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announces $50 Million Contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria
Announcement at event with Nelson Mandela highlights the Global Fund’s success and the need for greater resources
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
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BANGKOK, Thailand -- At the International AIDS Conference today, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it will contribute an additional $50 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, bringing its total contribution to $150 million.
Helene Gayle, MD, MPH, former director of the foundation’s HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health program, made the announcement at a special screening of "46664: The Message," a film based on the 46664 concert held in Cape Town in November 2003. In remarks at the screening, Nelson Mandela acknowledged the Gates Foundation’s contribution as an important sign of leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria.
Dr. Gayle called on governments and other organizations around the world to increase their commitments to the Global Fund.
"The Global Fund has made great strides since its inception. Thanks in large part to the Fund, many more people in developing countries now have access to HIV prevention and care and life-saving interventions for TB and malaria than just two years ago," said Dr. Gayle. "The Global Fund is an extraordinary model for financing the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria. We urge governments, the private sector, and other donors to dramatically increase their contributions to the Fund – their generosity can help save of millions of lives."
"The Fund is a true public-private partnership and a new way of doing business, and it will only reach its full potential with the involvement of government, the private sector, and charitable organizations," said Tommy G. Thompson, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and Chair of the Global Fund Board of Directors. "The U.S. remains a strong supporter of the Global Fund and welcomes the continued financial and technical partnership with the Gates Foundation, which dates from the Fund’s earliest days. Their strong financial support is a real boost for the Fund."
The Global Fund faces a major funding gap. Donors have committed a total of $3.4 billion to the Global Fund through 2004, enough to meet the Fund’s needs through the end of the year. However, pledges for 2005 through 2008 are just $2 billion, far below the $3.6 billion that the Fund projects it will need in 2005 alone.
The foundation hopes its contribution will encourage other donors to make immediate pledges to the Fund as well as allow the maximum contribution from the U.S. 
"The fight against the world’s most devastating diseases cannot be waged successfully without adequate resources," said Richard Feachem, MD, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "We applaud the leadership by the Gates Foundation in making this contribution and signaling its continued support for the Global Fund – especially at this critical moment when increased funding is so important. This will help leverage further funds from additional donors."
The Global Fund has made significant progress since it began funding proposals in 2002. To date, the Fund has approved nearly 300 grants for projects in 128 countries. The Fund projects that over the next five years, its current grantees will reach several milestones, such as providing antiretroviral therapy to more than 1.6 million people, and treating 3.5 million additional TB cases under the DOTS treatment strategy. The Fund also expects to support the delivery of 160 million artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs) for drug-resistant malaria. This rapid shift from choloroquine-based therapies to new, more effective ACTs is an impressive example of the Fund's ability to support promising new innovations.
According to statistics recently released by UNAIDS, the global AIDS epidemic continues to grow. Around the world, approximately 38 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Nearly half are women and 2.1 million are children. In 2003, 4.8 million people were newly infected with HIV and 2.9 million died of AIDS.
Tuberculosis and malaria also continue to place a severe burden on people in developing countries. An estimated 1.6 million people will die of tuberculosis in 2004, almost all in the developing world, and it is projected that tuberculosis will kill 35 million people between 2000 and 2020. Malaria infects 300-500 million people every year, and kills more than 1 million, the vast majority of them children in Africa.
The foundation has previously contributed $100 million to the Global Fund, fulfilling a commitment made in 2002.
U.S. law limits the U.S. contribution to no more than one-third of total annual contributions to the Global Fund, up to a maximum of $547 million for 2004.