Germany announced on Thursday that it will increase its overall financial contribution to The Global Fund to 1 billion Euros. The Global Fund is the Geneva-based financing agency that disburses funds to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The announcement was made at the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of international thought leaders in Davos, Switzerland.
Germany has already committed 400 million Euros over the past two years, and Thursday's announcement -- made by Dirk Niebel, Germany’s Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development -- extends the country's commitment to another 600 million Euros over the next three years, raising its overall five-year contribution to 1 billion Euros.
"We need to continue to devote hard work and determined efforts to halting the spread of HIV, malaria and other infectious diseases,” said Niebel. “We are close to turning the tide. I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of AIDS. This is an achievement, not least, of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which recently undertook reforms."
The reforms that Niebel referred to include the appointment of a new executive director, Dr. Mark Dybul, who also attended the press conference announcing the donation. Dybul, the former AIDS "Czar" of the President George W. Bush administration, started as executive director on Monday, replacing Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, who left in January 2012. Charges of corruption and turnover in numerous leadership positions had shaken the agency.
“This commitment is a tremendous milestone,” said Dybul. “It means health workers and the people they serve in countries like Ethiopia, Myanmar and Haiti can make a huge difference. Everyone is grateful to Germany for its generosity and for its recognition that investing in global health benefits us all.”
Also in attendance was Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and an early contributor to The Global Fund. Since its creation in 2002, The Global Fund has supported more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries, providing AIDS treatment for 4.2 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 9.7 million people and 310 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria.
“We can defeat AIDS, TB and malaria,” said Dybul. “We need funding to get it done. We are at a critical moment for funding, and we need a big push this year.”