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$14bn needed to fight AIDS, TB, Malaria worldwide -Official

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Not less than 14 billion US dollars is needed to fasttrack the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and quell stubborn epidemics that still kill millions, the head of a global health fund said on Friday.

Announcing a fundraising target for the next three-year cycle, Peter Sands, Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said the money could help save 16 million lives, halving deaths from the three diseases.

It would also be used to build stronger health systems in poor countries ill-equipped to handle existing outbreaks and unable to cope with potential new epidemics.

“New threats mean there is no middle ground. We need to … protect and build on the gains.

“We have made, or we will see those achievements eroded, infections and deaths resurge, and the prospect of ending the epidemics disappear. “

The Global Fund is invests around 4 billion dollars annually to fight infectious diseases. It is a group of governments, civil society and private sector partners.

Global was launched in 2002. It has recorded tremendous success reducing the number of people dying from AIDS, TB and malaria by around a third.

Nonetheless, it is not yet Uhuru. In 2017, TB killed 1.6 million people, including 300,000 people with HIV, making it one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

Malaria kills almost five hundred thousand people every year, most of whom are babies or young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Almost 37 million people worldwide are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and around 15 million of them do not get the needed anti-retroviral drugs for their treatment.

Despite the fact that it is no mean tasks to get international donors to pledge funds towards such a high target, Sands believed it would have a major impact.

This is given the fund’s reach and ability to elicit engagement and investment by governments in nations affected by the epidemics.

Sands says:

“If we step up the fight now, we will save millions more lives.”