The Global Fund, an international financing and partnership to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, says it has signed a record breaking $8.54 billion grants for lifesaving programmes to combat the three diseases in 2020.
The Global Fund, in a statement posted on its website, said the fund was signed for 157 grants for lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programmes and to strengthen systems for health in the year.
According to the statement, this is the highest amount of grants ever signed in a single year by the Global Fund and that the grants will begin implementation in January.
The statement quoted Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, as saying, “this is an exceptional achievement that will help more than 100 countries.
“It will help more than 100 countries to continue the critical fight against HIV, TB and malaria – epidemics that kill more than 2.3 million people every year.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms health systems around the world, it is now more important than ever that we ensure countries have the resources they need to fight HIV, TB and malaria.
“It is also important that they have resources they need to strengthen the systems for health needed to respond to all four diseases.”
The statement noteed that the Global Fund had a total of $12.71 billion available in funding allocations for the three-year funding cycle that runs from 2020-2022.
Of these funds, it stated that the Global Fund had planned for $8.9 billion in grants to be approved in 2020, with the remaining funds scheduled for later start dates.
However, it stated that the Secretariat accelerated its grant-making efforts and exceeded the original target, approving $9.2 billion of funding in 2020.
“As of 31 December, 2020, $8.54 billion of the approved grants had been signed and begin implementation this month; two countries were still in the process of signing the remaining finalised grants worth $660 million,” it stated.
The statement quoted Donald Kaberuka, Global Fund Board Chair, as saying, “Even in the midst of a new global pandemic, during an extraordinarily challenging year, the Global Fund partnership has supported countries to develop grants more quickly and effectively than ever before.
“A record-breaking 67 per cent of grants for the 2020-2022 funding cycle have now been signed, compared to 50 per cent of grants signed at the same time in the last funding cycle, representing a remarkable increase in performance,” said the statement.
It further stated that in comparison, at the same time in the 2017-2019 funding cycle, the Global Fund had signed $5.2 billion in grants out of a $10.3 billion funding allocation.
“Over the past year, the Global Fund has supported implementing partners and Country Coordinating Mechanisms to develop detailed funding requests for programme to respond to the epidemics at the country level.
“As part of the Global Fund’s grant-making process, all funding requests are reviewed by an independent Technical Review Panel.
“It will be review by the panel and then by the Grant Approvals Committee for quality and comprehensiveness before going to the Global Fund Board for final approval.
“Once the Global Fund and the implementing partners sign the grant, implementation of programme can begin,” continued the statement.
It, however, stated that the Global Fund was extremely appreciative of the continued support of donors for its core funding, as pledges made at the record-breaking Replenishment Conference in Lyon in October 2019 were converted into cash contributions.
It added that sustaining funding levels for the fight against HIV, TB and malaria was vital at a moment when disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to reverse many years of progress against the three diseases.
“On top of the new grants awarded to fight HIV, TB and malaria, the Global Fund has approved $980 million in additional funding to 106 low- and middle-income countries and 14 multi-country programmes to respond to COVID-19 in 2020.
“The Global Fund has estimated that it needs a further $5 billion on top of its core funding to support countries in responding to the pandemic.
“The fund will be used to support countries in responding to the pandemic by reinforcing national COVID-19 responses; mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programmes; and making urgent improvements to health and community systems,” it stated.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an international financing and partnership organisation that aims to “attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
By Cecilia Ologunagba