Friends Applauds House Leadership for Critically Needed Support of the Global Fund in Revised COVID-19 Emergency Bill

“If enacted, this legislation will save many lives and protect fragile gains against the AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics.”

September 29, 2020 (Washington, DC) – Last evening House of Representatives leadership posted a revised COVID-19 emergency bill, the Heroes Act, which includes $3.5 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to support low- to middle-income countries to bolster health systems and respond to COVID-19.

“If enacted, this legislation will save many lives and protect fragile gains against the AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics,” said Chris Collins, President and CEO, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “Speaker Pelosi has been a champion in the response to AIDS from her first day in Congress. Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for your long-term commitment to ending these epidemics and for your leadership to ensure global health investments are a part of the U.S. response to COVID-19.”

U.S. and other donor support is needed urgently as the Global Fund’s Emergency COVID-19 Response Mechanism will run out of money in a matter of weeks. Yesterday, the Global Fund committed to making the WHO’s newly approved antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 available in low- and middle-income countries with an initial $50 million pooled procurement. This commitment will purchase only about 10 million of the estimated 375 million rapid diagnostic tests that will be needed in low- and middle-income countries by mid-2021 and additional funding is needed without delay.

The latest Global Fund survey shows three quarters of HIV, TB and malaria programs have been disrupted by COVID-19.  Since March, the Global Fund has played a crucial role in the international COVID-19 response, working with partners to provide health workers with personal protective equipment; adapt HIV, TB and malaria programs; and shore up local health systems so they can respond to COVID-19 and be prepared to roll out treatments and vaccines once available.

Friends commends inclusion of other critical global health investments in the revised Heroes Act, including $3.5 billion for Gavi for global vaccine distribution in lower income countries, $1 billion for PEPFAR and $227 million to support health systems overseas in their fight against coronavirus, including $150 million for the Emergency Reserve Fund. Friends supports the development community’s request of $20 billion for the global response to COVID-19 in the next emergency supplemental.

“COVID-19 is threatening decades of progress against the AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics – the world’s deadliest infectious diseases,” said Dr. Jeffrey L. Sturchio, Friends’ Board Chair and CEO at Rabin Martin, a global health strategy consulting firm. “I applaud Speaker Pelosi and the House for including an investment in the Global Fund as part of its global COVID-19 response and urge quick passage of the bill. A strong U.S. investment in the Global Fund’s Emergency COVID-19 Response Mechanism will encourage other donors around the world to step up, too. The Global Fund can quickly get this funding to local health systems in need around the world, and reduce the disruptions to crucial lifesaving AIDS, TB and malaria services that we’re already seeing due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

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ABOUT FRIENDS OF THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA: Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria advocates for U.S. support of the Global Fund, and the goal to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. For more information about Friends of the Global Fight, visit www.theglobalfight.org.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL FUND: The Global Fund is a partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. As an international organization, the Global Fund mobilizes and invests more than US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 100 countries. In partnership with governments, civil society, technical agencies, the private sector, faith-based organizations and people affected by the diseases, we are challenging barriers and embracing innovation. Learn more at https://www.theglobalfund.org/en/overview.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Samantha Majerus

smajerus@theglobalfight.org