The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria approved funding decisions for ambitious investments over the next three-year period to significantly increase impact against HIV, TB and malaria and to build resilient and sustainable systems for health.
At the Board’s 42nd meeting, coming one month after a successful Sixth Replenishment that secured pledges of over US$14 billion for 2020-2022, Board members expressed appreciation for the collective efforts that led to such a strong mobilization of resources, calling it a compelling affirmation of commitment toward achieving greater social justice all over the world.
Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, expressed determination to use the unprecedented level of resources to maximum effect, within a coordinated approach by partners to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3, good health and well-being, with a special focus on reaching the most vulnerable people so that no one is left behind in efforts to end epidemics.
“Donors have responded magnificently to our challenge to step up the fight,” said Sands. “We must now convert those funds into a step change in lives saved, a sharp acceleration in progress toward ending the epidemics, and turbocharged progress toward SDG3.”
Donald Kaberuka, Chair of the Board, underscored the importance of moving swiftly to escalate efforts toward ending epidemics within the next ten years. “Time goes by fast,” said Dr. Kaberuka. “We have to extend and improve our work to make the greatest difference, and to deepen country ownership as a foundation for sustainability that includes greater domestic resource mobilization and fiscal space for health.”
Roslyn Morauta, Vice-Chair of the Board, stressed the need to remain focused on reaching the most vulnerable and marginalized with effective interventions. “We must keep sight of our mission,” said Lady Roslyn. “All our investments in health should have a relentless focus on value-for-money, outcomes and impact.”
The Board approved a decision that translates pledges made at the Replenishment Conference into funding for country allocations for the 2020-2022 period, as well as certain catalytic investments that can further enhance impact in priority areas. The Global Fund plans to finalize the allocation and inform countries in December 2019.
The Board also approved a decision to advance the development of wambo.org, an innovative online tool that gives in-country procurement teams the power to search, compare and purchase quality-assured products used by health programs. The Board’s decision allows wambo.org to be made available for non-Global Fund-financed orders by governments and nongovernment development organisations on a variety of products.
During Board discussions, several members highlighted the need to improve data quality, timeliness and granularity, an essential element in improving planning, decision-making and oversight of health programs.
Several Board members also welcomed plans announced by the Global Fund’s Executive Director to establish Youth Council to facilitate greater engagement of young people in finding solutions, since people under 25 are disproportionately vulnerable.
Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, addressed the Board in a special discussion session on the SDG3 agenda, giving his personal reflections and insights from a rich career in global health. He stressed the importance of keeping a long-term view, of working collaboratively with partners, of embracing innovation faster.
“There are certain things that the Global Fund cannot lose,” he said, and then listed several, including: A laser focus on measurable outcomes; prioritizing people-centered services, human rights and a commitment to social justice; and preserving a passion for saving lives.
“I love the language of SDG3: Good health and well-being,” he said. “It’s not just adding years to your life, but adding life to your years.”