Government increases contribution to Global Fund by €15 million

Irish funding in fight to end AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria rises to €45 million

Some of the Government funding will go towards the fight against malaria. Photograph: Getty

Some of the Government funding will go towards the fight against malaria. Photograph: Getty

 

The Government is to contribute an additional €15 million towards the fight to end Aids, TB and malaria through the Global Fund, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has said.

Speaking at a summit in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Katherine Zappone announced that the State had agreed to increase its annual contribution to the Global Fund by 50 per cent.

Ireland currently contributes €30 million to the Global Fund for the period of 2017-2019. This funding will now rise to €45 million for the three year period. Ireland is the seventh largest contributor to the fund.

The State is one of the founding members of the fund which was established in 2002 as a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by diseases to bring an end to AIDS, TB and malaria as epidemics.

Speaking in Addis, Ms Zappone said Ireland’s work on global health and on ending communicable diseases reflects the nation’s “deep understanding from our own experience that poverty and poor health are closely linked”.

“ The human toll of these epidemics is unacceptable; nearly 1,000 adolescent girls and young women become infected with AIDS every day, a child still dies every two minutes from malaria and TB is now the world’s leading killer among infectious diseases,” said the minister. “This is unacceptable when we know how to prevent these diseases.”

Ms Zappone was attending the African Leadership Meeting - Investing in Health as part of the 32nd Assembly Summit of the African Union where she also spoke about the issue of forced displacement in Africa. More than one third of the world’s forcibly displaced people are in Africa, including 145 million internally displaced people (displaced in their home country).

Jamie Drummond, co-founder of the ONE Campaign, welcomed the Government’s commitment to increase funding to the Global Fund, noting that “as some others step back, Ireland is proudly stepping up in the fight against extreme poverty and diseases”.

Mr Drummond said the Irish contribution would help reverse the spread of HIV in Africa and contribute to saving 16 million lives from these diseases over the next few years.

“Other nations must now follow Ireland’s great leadership – if all countries demonstrated the same ambition, we could end these diseases once and for all,” he said.

Last month U2’s Bono, who heads up the ONE campaign charity, warned that complacency is emerging in the global fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria which, if unchecked, could lead to millions of preventable deaths. the campaign recently launched its three year fundraising target of $14 billion (€12.2 billion) required to continue the fight.

The global community committed to end the epidemics by 2030 but, despite, significant progress, shortfalls in funding and increasing drug resistance are threatening to undermine the campaign.