Optimism surrounding the science of HIV treatment and prevention “is tempered by less auspicious trends, particularly shrinking budgets for global health in the U.S. and around the world,” Victoria Fan, Amanda Glassman, and Rachel Silverman of the Center for Global Development (CGD) write in the center’s “Global Health Policy” blog. “In this increasingly austere budget climate, generating ‘value for money’ (VFM) is a top concern for global health funding agencies and their donors, who want the biggest bang for their buck in terms of lives saved and diseases controlled,” they write, noting that a CGD-convened working group has produced a draft background paper (.pdf) on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The paper identifies “priority challenges” for the fund, which the authors discuss. They invite readers to comment on the consultation paper on the blog or by email (7/18).
“As the two people who worked as physicians in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic before the miracle of antiretroviral drug (ARV) therapy, and who now have the honor of leading the domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs for the Obama administration, we look back in awe of the American leadership that has transformed the epidemic in the 22 years since the International AIDS Conference was last held on U.S. soil,” Grant Colfax, director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, write in this Washington Blade opinion piece. “As we remember the lives lost to this disease and commit to the vision of an AIDS-free generation, it’s worth reflecting on how U.S. leadership and U.S. investments to combat HIV/AIDS domestically and internationally are saving lives and turning the tide against the disease,” they continue.
“The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria [on Wednesday] opened its first business forum in Bangkok to encourage more private-sector support in combating the three epidemics,” Thailand’s The Nation reports. “Under the theme ‘Investing in Asia-Pacific: Public Private Partnerships in Health,’ the Global Fund Business Forum, which ends [Thursday], is discussing various topics including the role of business in global health and business engagement in sustainable value creation,” the newspaper writes, adding, “Panel sessions on public-private partnerships are also being held in various areas.” “‘The continued and expanded engagement of private contributors is playing a critical role in ensuring the long-term success of the Global Fund and the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,’ said Dr. Christoph Benn, director for resource mobilization and donor relations,” according to The Nation (7/12).
Global Fund Investigation Finds Recipient Organization In Bangladesh 'Misappropriated' $1.89M In Grant Funds
“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Diseases is eyeing the recovery of some $1.89 million ‘misappropriated’ grant funds following an investigative report [.pdf] on one of its sub-recipients in Bangladesh,” the Devex “Development Newswire” blog reports. “The money covers 52 percent of the total amount disbursed to nongovernmental organization Padakhep Manabik Unnayan Kendra [PMKU] under the fund’s 2004-2009 HIV and AIDS program,” the blog writes, adding, “The [non-governmental organization (NGO)] ‘fabricated’ documents, including bank statements, accounting journals, invoices and copies of checks that were never issued, according to the report published online Tuesday.”
“A tremendous amount of attention will be focused on AIDS over the next six weeks — and that’s a great thing,” as the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) convenes in Washington, D.C., from July 22 to 27, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. “This is a moment of hope,” he adds, continuing, “The world has seen a fundamental transformation in the global AIDS outlook over the past decade, with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria playing leading roles.”
Gabriel Jaramillo, general manager of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “took a new approach to appealing for donations last week, arguing to finance ministers from participating nations that the fund is a great investment,” the New York Times reports. Calling investment in the fund “a good deal,” Jaramillo, a former banker, “urged ministers meeting in Tunisia to ‘put your skin in the game now, because the out-years will be much cheaper as your number of cases goes down,'” the newspaper writes. As an example of “cost-efficiency,” he cited Namibia, which spends $120 million annually on HIV treatment — half from the Global Fund — and has seen a drop from 2,700 AIDS-related deaths per year to 56 per year over five years, according to the newspaper (McNeil, 7/9).
In this New York Times opinion piece, columnist Nicholas Kristof examines the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid, writing, “In this election year in the United States, there’ll be bitter debates about what should be cut from budgets, and one thing Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on is that foreign aid is bloated.” He states, “In fact, all foreign aid accounts for about one percent of federal spending — and that includes military assistance and a huge, politically driven check made out to Israel, a wealthy country that is the largest recipient of American aid.” He continues, “On my annual win-a-trip journey with a university student — this year it’s Jordan Schermerhorn of Rice University — we’ve been seeing how assistance changed the course of the AIDS epidemic in Lesotho and Malawi.”
Noting the 2010 reversal of the HIV travel and immigration ban allowing the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) to be held in the U.S. for the first time in more than 20 years, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) writes in a Huffington Post Blog opinion piece, “It is so exciting to host this conference at such a pivotal time in the history of the AIDS response,” and adds, “At no other time in history has our global leadership been more important than it is right now.” With nearly 25,000 people from about 200 countries expected to gather in Washington, D.C., for the conference July 22-27, “These leaders in the global HIV and AIDS fight will showcase their incredible efforts and achievements on our own soil” and “have the opportunity to develop new solutions in addressing the ongoing challenges posed by HIV/AIDS in our own country and around the world,” Lee writes.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday released Issue 5 of its newsletter, the “Global Fund News Flash.” The issue reports that strategic planners at the Global Fund “are designing a new funding model”; notes the “Japan Center for International Exchange announced last week that its new president, Ken Shibusawa, would also become director of the Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ)”; profiles Ade Fakoya, senior adviser on HIV and AIDS at the Global Fund; and highlights a speech by U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby delivered at the Brookings Institution in Washington last week in which he “praised the reforms being undertaken at the Global Fund” (7/3).
Advocacy Groups Say Corruption Leaving Millions Of HIV-Positive Ukrainians Without Treatment, AP Reports
The Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle reports on how Ukrainian “advocacy groups are accusing the government of embezzling millions of dollars in corrupt drug tenders and thus depriving patients of vital treatment.” The news service notes, “Of the estimated 450,000 Ukrainians who are HIV-positive, 70,000 require urgent treatment today, … [but] only 28,000 are receiving it, leaving over 40,000 of patients without antiretroviral therapy, which could greatly prolong their lives, according to WHO.” Igor Pokanevych, head of the WHO Country Office in Ukraine, said, “More resources should be allocated to fight against AIDS in this country,” but the AP reports that “advocacy groups charge that the government in fact has the necessary funds to treat all of its AIDS patients” and “accuse health ministry officials [of] embezzling money that should be used to treat patients by buying AIDS drugs at hugely inflated prices and then pocketing kickbacks.”