The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria faces bankruptcy and the G8 nations are to blame, according to Health GAP (Global Access Project).
Health activists at this week’s G8 meeting in Evian said the situation was outrageous considering that US President George Bush has attempted to block bipartisan efforts to increase American contributions to the fund as well as shocking revelations that the European Development Fund is sitting on 10 billion unspent euros.
‘The heads of state created this fund and pumped it for positive publicity two years ago. Now they have decided to orphan it after deliberately manipulating the hopes and expectations of millions of people with HIV in developing countries,’ said Sharonann Lynch of Health GAP.
Activists said that the global fund would be bankrupt before its third round of grants, scheduled for October this year and expected to disburse funds totaling U$1,6 billion.
The global fund is a multilateral financing mechanism that so far has committed $1,5 billion in funding for 93 programmes in developing countries. Experts agree that the fund is the best hope for scaling up life-extending HIV treatment access in developing countries.
Lynch said the unspent 10 billion euros in the European Development Fund was a further indication of the indifference of wealthy countries to the fate of the global fund and of people living with HIV.
She said Bush’s much-lauded five year plan to spend U$10 billion in ‘new’ money on AIDS in 14 African and Caribbean countries was hobbled by ‘his stingy and dwindling contribution to the global fund’.
‘The global fund is up and running now unlike Bush’s untested bilateral programme,’ Lynch added.
Health GAP also accused the White House of single handedly blocking efforts at the World Trade Organisation to secure broader access to exported medicines for poor countries with inefficient capacity for local production of medicines.
Brook Baker, of Health GAP, claimed that a leaked copy of US comments to the draft G8 Health Communique showed the US would avoid any mention of key issues impeding access to medicines, including drug pricing and the impact of intellectual property on medicine access.
‘The issue of access to affordable generic medicines is the litmus test for whether or not global trade rules benefit the world’s poor,’ said Bake.
Health GAP is an organisation of U.S.-based AIDS and human rights activists, people living with HIV/AIDS, public health experts, fair trade advocates and concerned individuals who campaign against policies of neglect and greed that deny treatment to millions and fuel the spread of HIV.