Davos, Switzerland — The Federal Republic of Germany announced today that it will contribute EUR 1 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, enabling health workers to continue efforts to prevent and treat these three highly infectious diseases.
The announcement was made by Dirk Niebel, Germany's Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development at a news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, also attended by Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund.
"We need to continue to devote hard work and determined efforts to halting the spread of HIV, malaria and other infectious diseases," said Mr. 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 commitment represents a continuation of Germany's pledge for annual contributions of EUR 200 million for a total of five years, through 2016.
"This commitment is a tremendous milestone," said Dr. Dybul, who became Executive Director of the Global Fund on 21 January. "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."
Sustained funding from donors, together with contributions by local governments, allows developing countries to pursue a strong fight against the three diseases: HIV transmission rates are falling in nearly every region, including the worst affected countries. TB mortality has fallen by more than a third since the 1990s. Insecticide-treated nets have been widely distributed to protect millions of families from malaria.
"We can defeat AIDS, TB and malaria," said Dr. Dybul. "We need funding to get it done. We are at a critical moment for funding, and we need a big push this year."
In 2013, the Global Fund will host a once-every-three-years fund raising conference where donors can announce commitments to the Global Fund, enabling the Global Fund to increase the predictability of its efforts.
Germany has been a strong supporter of the Global Fund since the beginning and has taken the lead in Europe to announce this important pledge, showing commitment and endorsement for the efforts to transform the Global Fund into a highly efficient channel for financing a sustainable, long-term response to the three diseases.
These financial resources will allow the Global Fund to further support countries as they work to meet the Millennium Development Goals related to health.
However, the demand for funding is likely to outstrip the impressive commitment made today. The Global Fund will continue to seek additional sources of funding, and to explain the need for more contributions from wealthy donor nations and the private sector.
One financing initiative that Germany has pioneered is Debt2Health, a Global Fund scheme that allows developing countries to free up debt and invest it in programs for the three diseases. Germany has signed such agreements with Indonesia, Pakistan, Côte d'Ivoire and Egypt/Ethiopia.