Policy Newsletter: World TB Day, European Comission, Empowering Adolescent Girls

Unite to End TB – Celebrating World TB Day

Last week, the global health community celebrated World TB Day 2016. It was an important opportunity to highlight the progress made to save lives from tuberculosis – an estimated 43 million lives have been saved since 2000 as a result of improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment efforts. However, tuberculosis still claims too many lives each year, despite it being an entirely curable disease. In 2014, 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis, making it the number-one cause of death from an infectious disease. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that the number of tuberculosis cases in the United States increased in 2015.

On March 23, Friends of the Global Fight participated in the World TB Survivor Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, which brought survivors from the United States and Zimbabwe to Washington to meet with Congressional offices and tell their personal stories of their battles to overcome the disease. These survivors’ moving stories shined a light on a disease about which many people know very little. Their message was clear: tuberculosis and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) can affect anyone in any country. Tuberculosis has been overlooked for far too long. Without robust funding and political commitments by governments and the private sector, this preventable and treatable disease will continue to be one of the world’s leading infectious killers. To #EndTB once and for all, we must continue funding research and development for new treatment and diagnostics. In addition, we must continue to fund U.S. government agencies and multilateral organizations that lead the fight against tuberculosis and MDR-TB at home and abroad, including the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

European Commission Announces 27% Increased Pledge to the Global Fund

On March 3, the European Commission (EC) announced a pledge of €470 million for the Global Fund. The EC’s pledge is €100 million or 27 percent above their previous contribution and signals the EC’s strong leadership in global health. It is also the first pledge of the Global Fund’s Fifth Replenishment, a campaign seeking to raise $13 billion for the 2017-2019 programmatic cycle in order to continue the lifesaving work of the Fund in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Later this year, the Global Fund will host its Fifth Replenishment Pledging Conference to raise funds for the 2017-2019 funding cycle. The Global Fund is seeking $13 billion, pledged from the public and private sectors, which would enable the Global Fund partnership to save an additional 8 million lives and avert 300 million new infections of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as advance our shared goal of ending these diseases as epidemics by 2030.

U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls

On March 15, Secretary of State John Kerry launched the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls. This new strategy will bring together four government agencies – the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Peace Corps, the State Department and USAID – to address challenges related to adolescent girls’ safety, health and education. During the launch, Secretary Kerry announced that $40 million from PEPFAR’s $85 million DREAMS Innovation Challenge will help girls access and remain in secondary school. This is a crucial component of PEPFAR’s work to prevent HIV/AIDS in adolescent girls and young women, since access to education can decrease the likelihood of infection.

In 2015, the Global Fund released a paper outlining the challenges and opportunities in addressing the disproportionate impact that HIV/AIDS has on women and girls, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The statistics are staggering – 7,000 women and girls ages 15-24 are infected with HIV every week, and the disease is the global leading cause of death among this population. The Global Fund focuses its investments on programs aimed at decreasing HIV incidence for women and girls by addressing the following key issues areas: gender equality, gender-based violence, maternal and child health, keeping girls in school, and promoting women’s rights and representation. Additionally, in all grants, the Global Fund now requires countries to report sex- and age-disaggregated data. Currently, the Global Fund invests an estimated 55-60 percent of its resources in programs and services that reach women and children.

Please join Friends of the Global Fight for an upcoming webinar to learn more about these innovative strategies aimed at improving the lives of adolescent girls and young women around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2016, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am EDT and will feature remarks from Heather Doyle, Senior Advisor on Gender at the Global Fund, as well as Daniela Ligiero, Vice President of Girls and Women Strategy at the United Nations Foundation. Additional information can be found here. Please RSVP to John McMannis at [email protected] to receive call-in information.