The World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, have inked a cooperation and financing agreement to implement 10 strategic initiatives for accelerating the end of AIDS, TB, and malaria as epidemics and strengthen systems for health.
This new agreement, which will cover the 2021-2023 implementation period, aims to address some of the persistent challenges that impede progress against the three diseases and protect hard-won gains from new pandemics like Covid-19, WHO has said.
In 2019, a total of 1.4 million (14 lakh) people died from TB and an estimated 4,09,000 people died from malaria. In 2020, 6,90,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses, it also said.
Through the new agreement, the strategic initiatives seek to expand TB preventive treatment for people living with HIV in nine countries across Africa; strengthen efforts to provide differentiated HIV service delivery; accelerate efforts to find people with TB missed by health systems in 20 countries; accelerate introduction of innovation for multi-drug resistant TB treatment through regional operational research in Eastern and Central Europe; support 26 countries and territories to eliminate malaria by 2025; iImprove country data collection and use to develop evidence-informed policy; foster the rapid uptake of service delivery innovations with South to South Learning; improve quality of care; encourage rapid uptake of procurement and supply chain management innovation; and increase programme sustainability, facilitate the transition to domestic financing and improve program efficiency.
WHO and the Global Fund have a long and “successful” partnership working together to scale up HIV, TB and malaria interventions and “strengthen” health systems in many countries. Through focused efforts and catalytic investments, this collaboration has contributed to significantly reduce the disease burdens of HIV, TB and malaria worldwide, saving millions of lives since 2002.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, reinforces the need to strengthen our partnership to achieve our shared goals of ending the epidemics,” said Dr Mubashar Sheikh, Director, Deputy Director-General’s Office, WHO. “This agreement supports countries to develop more effective responses to the HIV, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics and build the resilient health systems they need to reach the most vulnerable.
Michael Byrne, Head, Technical Advice and Partnerships, Global Fund: “Together, WHO and the Global Fund have proven to be a powerful force that builds on strong in-country support and regional presence, technical leadership and financial resources to strengthen systems for health and accelerate the end of AIDS, TB and malaria as epidemics. This new agreement will help overcome the multiple challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, safeguard and expand HIV, TB and malaria programmes.”