Bono says ‘complacency’ over Aids, TB could lead to millions dying

U2 front man issues warning as Global Fund announces drive to raise €12bn in next three years

U2 front man Bono has warned that complacency is emerging in the global fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria which, if unchecked, could lead to millions of preventable deaths. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

U2 front man Bono has warned that complacency is emerging in the global fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria which, if unchecked, could lead to millions of preventable deaths. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

 

U2 front man Bono has warned that complacency is emerging in the global fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria which, if unchecked, could lead to millions of preventable deaths.

His warning came as the Global Fund established to battle the diseases - to which Ireland is now the seventh largest national contributor - 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.

The fund, comprising governments as well as civil and private sector organisations, invests about $4 billion a year but concerns are mounting.

“We’re at a dangerous point in the journey to end Aids, TB and malaria,” said Bono, whose charity One campaigns for governments around the world to fight Aids. “Complacency is setting in. Some people think these diseases are in the rear-view mirror, but not the 7,000 people who will die from them today, or their families.”

Donor

Ireland is a founding partner of the Global Fund and has contributed more than €203 million since it was set up in 2002, becoming the seventh largest donor per capita.

The organisation’s target was outlined at the launch of its sixth “replenishment investment case” on Friday. It will hold a fundraising conference in Lyon, France in October.

French president Emmanuael Macron, speaking in Paris to support the launch, said the global community must renew its effort in combating the diseases.

The organisation estimates that more than 27 million lives have been saved from investment to date. About 17.5 million people have received antiretroviral therapy for HIV; 5 million people with TB have been treated; and 197 million mosquito nets have been distributed to safeguard against the spread of malaria.

However, Friday’s report says almost 1,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV every day while a child still dies every two minutes from malaria. TB is now the world’s leading killer among infectious diseases.