‘AIDS, TB, malaria deaths, infection could skyrocket in next 12 months’by Chukwuma Muanya
Pandemic may reverse progress in saving 38m people
A new report by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published today, has warned that the progress made since 2002 in saving more than 38 million people from Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), tuberculosis (TB) and malaria-related deaths could be wiped out by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The report, which further warned that deaths and infections from HIV, TB and malaria could skyrocket in the next 12 months, called on countries to urgently invest to protect decades of progress against HIV, TB and malaria that are being derailed as a knock-on effect of the pandemic.
According to the report, the Global Fund partnership has saved 38 million lives since 2002, including six million in 2019 alone. This represents a 20 percent increase in the number of lives saved compared to the previous year – remarkable progress resulting from increased efficiencies in service delivery, success in finding and treating more people with life-saving medicine, cost savings on health products, and improved collaboration across the Global Fund partnership.
The report noted that overall, deaths caused by AIDS, TB and malaria each year have been reduced by nearly 50 per cent since the peak of the epidemics in countries where the Global Fund invests. However, the Results Report 2020 showed that much of that progress could now be lost due to COVID-19.
Executive Director of the Global Fund, Peter Sands, said: “This year’s results report demonstrates how a united world, led by strong commitments by communities, can work together to drive diseases into retreat.
“We’ve made extraordinary progress, but COVID-19 now threatens to reverse the gains we have all worked so hard to achieve. We must not let that happen. We must unite to fight.”
According to the report, among the key results achieved in 2019 in countries where the Global Fund invests, are:
• 20.1 million people received antiretroviral therapy for HIV;
• 718,000 HIV-positive mothers received medicine to keep them alive and prevent transmitting HIV to their babies;
• 5.7 million people tested and treated for TB;
• In 2019, 160 million mosquito nets were distributed to protect nearly 320 million people from malaria for three years.
Achievements in the 2020 results report are a result of efforts by a wide array of actors comprising the Global Fund partnership, including implementer governments, multilateral agencies, bilateral partners, civil society groups, people affected by the diseases, and the private sector.