Global Fund Should Expand Focus To Include UHC In Addition To HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria

The Lancet: The Global Fund as an ATM plus
Sjoerd Postma, chief of party at the Health Sector Resiliency Project and focal point/expert for Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Independent Technical Review Panel

“In his [July 7] comment, Richard Horton advocates for an expanded mandate of the Global Fund, with the inclusion of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in addition to its support for the three global high-burden diseases (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria). This notion is welcome … There are several reasons why the Global Fund should become an ATM plus. First, when countries with increasing gross domestic products and decreasing disease burdens receive less funding or graduate from Global Fund support, they not only lose support for the three disease programs, but also support for complementary health systems…, which are also supporting general health service delivery. … Second, countries are diverse and at various stages along the (general, health sector, or health systems) development continuum. … Without these investments, these countries could be at serious risk of reverting back to a higher disease burden, and therefore require additional support, although this support might no longer be available. Third, as suggested by Horton, investing in health workers, health information, governance and accountability, and, I would add, supply chains is indeed crucial to deliver UHC — a package of comprehensive quality health services that is affordable by all. … So, indeed, expansion of the Global Fund mandate beyond the three diseases is required because the ultimate achievement of UHC will be slowed down, not by those three diseases, but by other factors affecting people’s health…” (10/6).

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