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Michel D. Kazatchkine Headshot

The Power of a Letter

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MORGAN FREEMAN
Getty

It is an incredibly rewarding feeling to see the work to which you've dedicated your life being championed by others. For that, I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to Morgan Freeman, Annie Lennox, Deepak Chopra, Jeremy Irons, Djimon Hounsou and the many other inspiring individuals who have pledged their support for the Global Fund, and our battle against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in an open letter published last week.

I may never be able to comprehend what it means for someone whose life has seemed on the brink after testing positive for HIV, to know that they will receive life-saving treatment. I may never truly understand how it feels to sleep soundly under a mosquito net, for someone who lives in a malaria stricken part of the world and has seen relatives, young and old, die of the disease. These are not stories of despair or hope, they are the realities of death or life.

However, what I can fully comprehend is the incredible progress I have seen since the inception of the Global Fund, just 10 short years ago. Along with our partners, both donors and implementers, we are changing the story of scores of nations that were once devastated by three killer diseases -- diseases which seemed invincible. Together, we are now saving more than one million lives every year. Each of those lives is someone who can then have a healthy, productive future and go on to take care of their family and community.

No one should be more proud of this than the people of the United States. Its leadership in global health through programs such as PEPFAR (Presidents Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), PMI (President's Malaria Initiative) and of course its leading support for the Global Fund, has been a crucial catalyst for success. The millions of lives saved every year by all these programs is a return on the United States' investment in global health.

As a doctor who has been fighting against AIDS since 1980, I am grateful that the path of my career has put me in a role where I can contribute to defeating these three diseases. And I am honored that so many inspired individuals, have proclaimed their pledge and solidarity for a world, free of the burdens of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We have never been so close.