September 22, 2023
Chris Collins, President & CEO of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, attended Panel 2 of the Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response High-Level Meeting in New York and submitted the following comments.
Statement of Chris Collins
Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria
September 20, 2023
The question for today’s High Level Meeting is: health security for whom? If we mean greater security for people globally, not just in rich countries, then we need to recognize:
First, the AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria pandemics are killing millions of people each year. We are officially off track in meeting global targets for these diseases – and that’s not health security. I am very pleased to see a recommitment to ending the epidemics of AIDS, TB and malaria in the pandemic preparedness political declaration.
Second, the people and systems working every day to address AIDS, TB and malaria played an enormous role in helping communities tackle COVID-19 and should be central in identifying and responding to future disease threats. I am very pleased to see the declaration acknowledges that one path to preparedness is, “through accelerating efforts to end the global epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.”
But I am very concerned that the organization that is the biggest funder of the AIDS, TB and malaria responses; was the global leader in providing non-vaccine interventions during COVID-19; and which makes large investments in areas related to pandemic preparedness is barely mentioned in the political declaration. That is the Global Fund. And its omission from the declaration is a grave oversight.
Studies show that over a third of Global Fund investments help countries build preparedness capacity. The organization is poised to build out its work in multiple areas that are core to preparedness.
Just as important, the Global Fund brings a value set that we need in preparedness including independent oversight, a focus on tangible results, inclusion of multiple stakeholders in decision making, incentivizing domestic resources, supporting community systems, and reaching the most vulnerable and marginalized.
These strengths make the Global Fund a major asset in Universal Health Coverage as well. A new issue brief from Friends of the Global Fight and Friends Japan identifies 10 areas of health systems that are essential to UHC and in which the Global Fund makes major contributions. That issue brief is now available online at theglobalfight.org .
The Global Fund is a critical pathway to the kind of pandemic preparedness we need – inclusive, trusted, committed to reaching everyone.
We need to stop making global health policy in silos. The Global Fund should be part of a holistic and strategic approach to preparedness, and it should have a prominent role in all pandemic preparedness dialogues going forward.