UK pledge £1 billion in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria

The UK will give £1 billion to the Geneva-based Global Fund over the next three years in the help to combat AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced at the United Nations in New York. Ms Greening said fighting preventable diseases was “in all of our interests.”

The Global Fund was founded in 2002 and is the world’s largest donor of funds to fight the three deadly and infectious diseases, proving prevention, treatment and care programmes.

The initiative is believed to have helped to save 8.7 million lives and 5.3 million people with HIV are now benefiting from antiretroviral therapy, 11 million new TB cases have been detected and treated and 340 million insecticide treated nets have been given to families to provide protection from malaria.

Britain’s staggering £1 billion pledge will save “a life every three minutes” and now doubles the current amount of money being donated and leaves the UK only second to the United States as the biggest donor of funds.

Throughout the next three years the UK will be involved in the delivery of vital antiretroviral treatment to an additional 750,000 people who have HIV, in addition to an extra 32 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets and over a million people will receive treatment for TB.

The Department for International Development has predicted that the generous funding provided by the UK will save the lives of 590,400 people between 2014 and 2016. This equates to one life saved every three minutes.

“AIDS, TB and malaria are among the world’s biggest killers despite being entirely preventable and treatable,” Ms Greening said at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on Monday, where spoke on the new funding.

She continued: “The Global Fund has already helped save millions of lives but we must keep up the momentum if we are to beat these diseases for good. It is in all our interests to help people live longer, healthier, more productive lives so we all need to play our part in working towards a world free of HIV/Aids, malaria and TB.”

Bono, frontman for rock band U2 co-founder of the One foundation, said: “The UK’s pledge of up to a billion pounds for the fight against Aids, TB and malaria means what once seemed impossible could now be within our grasp. Through this smart investment in one of the most effective disease-fighting funds in history, we could witness the defeat of these global killers in our lifetime. David Cameron and Justine Greening have given us a billion reasons to believe we can do it, but Britain’s pledge will only be delivered if others step up too. Australia, Canada, Germany: your move.”

Prevention of malaria has improved significantly in recent times. The World Health Organisation’s World Malaria Report for 2012 stated that 50 countries were on target for lowering malaria incidence by 75% between 2000 and 2015. Moreover, 30 million insecticide-treated nets were given out during January and July of 2013 through Global Fund-supported programmes.

TB, the world’s second biggest infectious killer after HIV/AIDS, is slowly declining, albeit slowly. Funding from the Global Fund has resulted in detection and treatment of 11 million smear-positive cases of TB, up from 9.7 million at the end of 2012.

It was calculated that as of 1 July the Global Fund had helped to pioneer programmes resulting in 5.3 million people with HIV to receive antiretroviral therapy, up from 4.2 million at the end of 2012.

If you are travelling abroad and require malaria medication for prevention and treatment, Doxycycline, Malarone, Paludrine, and Jungle Formula Maximum Pump Spray are options worth considering.  In addition, don’t forget to check the NHS Fit For Travel website where you will find the recommended malaria medication for your destination.

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