On 27th August 2021, the African Constituency Bureau attended the passing of the torch caravan from Ethiopia to Tanzania organized by Global Fund Advocacy Network (GFAN), ending a week of activities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of GF in Ethiopia. Over the 20-year period, since its inception, the Global Fund partnership has saved 38 million lives and this was the greatest opportunity to reflect on the past 20 years of unfailing support to African Countries such as Ethiopia.
In countries supported by Global Fund investments, AIDS, TB and malaria-related deaths have dropped by 61%, 25% and 46% respectively since the Global Fund was founded in 2002. In the absence of TB and malaria control measures, deaths would have increased by 118% and 65% respectively over this period.
These outstanding results were achieved through the allocation of 72% of Global Fund resources to Africa which bears the highest burden of the 3 diseases worldwide.
H.E Dr Lia Tadesse Minister of Health of Ethiopia, representatives from the African Union, African CDC and gracing the event all acknowledged the added value of this support and called for more political will and leadership to sustain the Global Fund’s action and also for more involvement of the communities that should be at the center of the response to the 3 diseases.
The Africa Constituency Bureau for the Global Fund and the audience applauded Global Fund’s achievements and partnership in our continent over the past 20 years and acknowledged the benefits of this partnership that helps people live much longer with HIV, and thanks to which AIDS is no longer a death sentence. As Fassika Alemayehu, Policy and Advocacy Advisor at ACB stated: “The staggering decrease of AIDS, TB and Malaria related deaths, and the impactful investment to access HIV, TB and malaria services, since the establishment of the Global fund, is undoubtfully a reason to celebrate.”
Nevertheless, while celebrating the gains achieved thus far she underlined the colossal gaps and challenges facing the continent which is unfortunately off-track to meet the ambitious goal of ending the three epidemics by 2030. While acknowledging Global Fund’s readiness to handle the unfinished business through its post 2022 strategy, the ACB also used this platform to shed light on ESA/WCA key asks in the Global Fund next strategy.
The caravan torch was launched in Cape Town, South Africa on 14 July 2021 and will end in Durban, South Africa, on the sidelines of ICASA 2021.