On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Friends) President Chris Collins testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. You can read his in-person testimony below. His full written testimony is accessible here.

Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, Ranking Member Rogers and the full Subcommittee, for your steadfast support of America’s leadership in the fight against infectious disease, and in particular for your generous support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. 

Chairwoman Lowey, I want to take this opportunity to thank you personally for the more than three decades of your service.  Your leadership has been hugely consequential and you are an inspiration to all of us.

Last May, this subcommittee led the way in increasing the US commitment to the Global Fund – the first increase in six years. I know it was not easy to do, but the impact of that funding has already been substantial.  One month later, the United Kingdom announced their own increased pledge.  Through the summer other donors followed.  

In October, $14 billion was pledged at the Global Fund Replenishment. I want to applaud the members who took time out to travel to Replenishment and represent the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund there. Thank you to Rep. Aguilar, Rep. Herd, Rep. Lawrence and Rep. Roby. Thank you as well to subcommittee staff, who worked so hard on the bill and supported those members: Susan Adams, Erin Kolodjeski and Steve Marchese.

Last year, even as many countries turned inward and criticism of globalism was on the rise, at Global Fund Replenishment, the world was able to affirm the value of collaborative efforts to tackle global infectious disease.  How did that happen?  One reason is the Global Fund’s consistent delivery of results. 

Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund partnership has saved over 32 million lives.  Countries supported by the Global Fund have seen remarkable declines in mortality: a 56% decline in HIV-related deaths, 22% in TB, and 46% in malaria. 

But the Global Fund is also transforming societies by promoting local ownership, engaging civil society, the private sector and faith communities, and incentivizing governments to invest more in the health of their own people.

For the United States, the Global Fund remains an outstanding investment.   It amplifies the impact of our excellent bilateral global health programs, and the U.S. pandemic preparedness and response requires all our global health investments. The Global Fund invests in stronger health systems that are better able to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and already the Global Fund has encouraged countries to reprogram savings to mitigate COVID-19 impacts in health systems.

There remain critical challenges ahead in the effort to end the epidemics of AIDS, TB and malaria.

Even with these challenges, the success of Global Fund replenishment means that during the next three year cycle the organization and its partners will be able to save an additional 16 million lives and prevent 234 million infections.   

Continued US funding at last year’s level sets the Global Fund and its partners up for success.  I worry that reduced US funding would undermine the confidence of other donors, complicate Global Fund country allocations and diminish our investment in effective healthcare systems.

Therefore, Friends of the Global Fight requests you maintain US funding to the Global Fund at the current $1.56 billion in fiscal year 2021.  We also request that you again reject the Administration’s proposal to reduce the US share of support for the Global Fund and keep it at the traditional 33% level. And, of course, we support the highest possible allocation to international assistance overall.

Thank you for your commitment to maintaining bold US global leadership in the fight against the most deadly infectious diseases in the world. 

With your support, and the support of partners, we are making significant progress and saving many lives. Thank you.