We save 38m lives, but COVID-19 could wipe out our progress — Global Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic could wipe out decades of progress against HIV, Tuberculosis, and malaria except urgent action is taken to invest in efforts, Global Fund revealed.

A new report released by the Global Fund partnership has saved 38 million lives since 2002, including six million in 2019 alone representing a 20 percent increase in the number of lives saved compared to the previous year.

The progress results from increased efficiencies in service delivery, success in finding and treating more people with lifesaving medicine, cost savings on health products, and improved collaboration across the Global Fund partnership.

Overall, deaths caused by AIDS, TB, and malaria each year have been reduced by nearly 50 percent since the peak of the epidemics in countries where the Global Fund invests.

However, the Results Report 2020 shows that much of that progress could now be lost due to the knock-on effects of COVID-19. Deaths and infections from HIV, TB, and malaria could skyrocket in the next 12 months, the report warns.

“This year’s Results Report demonstrates how a united world, led by strong commitments by communities, can work together to drive diseases into retreat,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “We’ve made extraordinary progress, but COVID-19 now threatens to reverse the gains we have all worked so hard to achieve. We must not let that happen. We must unite to fight.”

Key results achieved in 2019 in countries where the Global Fund invests shows 20.1 million people received antiretroviral therapy for HIV; 718,000 HIV-positive mothers received medicine to keep them alive and prevent transmitting HIV to their babies and 5.7 million people tested and treated for TB;

Further, 160 million mosquito nets were distributed to protect nearly 320 million people from malaria for three years.

Achievements in the 2020 Results Report are a result of efforts by a wide array of actors comprising the Global Fund partnership, including implementer governments, multilateral agencies, among others.

The Global Fund made strong progress on several fronts in 2019. While girls are still disproportionately affected by HIV compared to their male peers, infection rates among adolescent girls and young women have dropped by 51 percent since 2010 in 13 priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa where the Global Fund invests.

The Global Fund also supported the purchase of 3.7 million self-testing kits; access to varied testing measures is fundamental to ending HIV as a public health threat.


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