An appeal for investment against triple threat to world health
This letter is addressed to the leaders of Commonwealth nations.
The world faces challenges best when we face them together. As former leaders of Commonwealth countries, we are writing in support of the Global Fund to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.
The Global Fund holds its seventh replenishment this year and will ask countries for a 30 per cent increase from the previous round in 2019. This is an ambitious request, especially given the economic strain people are feeling in the wake of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Any intervention has to justify itself, and the Global Fund does this. This uplift is necessary to reclaim the lost gains from Covid-19, accelerate the gains to ending Aids, TB and malaria, and build stronger and more resilient health systems to fight future pandemics.
The $18 billion that the Global Fund is asking for will help save 20 million lives over three years. This investment is essential, as we face a crucial juncture in the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, and for global health security as a whole.
The world must address the damage caused by Covid-19. There were significant cost increases and huge disruption to prevention and testing across all three diseases in 2020 and 2021. These losses need to be reversed, and progress towards ending Aids, TB and malaria by 2030 and meeting the SDGs must be accelerated. Allowing these diseases to move faster than our response risks millions of lives.
As the past two years have shown, we need to build stronger and more resilient health systems to fight future pandemics. The Global Fund invests $1 billion a year in this area at present and plans to double this to $2 billion between 2023 and 2026. This will enable the fund to support countries in building more effective health systems that are better able to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats. A fully funded Global Fund will play a central part in stopping the next pandemic before it stops us.
The Global Fund’s record speaks for itself, having saved 44 million lives since its creation in 2002, with many of these in Commonwealth countries. We are close to finishing the fight against these killer diseases, and face a choice. We can either invest in something that works or we can allow progress against three of the biggest killers in human history to be lost.
As Commonwealth countries meet, we must show our support for renewed investment in global health. We call on the leaders of our countries to renew their commitment to an initiative that has played a key role in the health of our countries — for a better, safer and healthier world for all. Current world events can feel overwhelming, but the Global Fund’s achievements remind us that today’s challenges can be tomorrow’s history.
David Cameron (British Prime Minister, 2010-2016)
Gordon Brown* (British Prime Minister, 2007-2010)
Manmohan Singh (Prime Minister of India, 2004-2014)
P.J. Patterson* (Prime Minister of Jamaica, 1992-2006)
Joyce Banda* (President of Malawi, 2012-2014)
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca* (President of Malta, 2014-2019)
Cassam Uteem* (President of Mauritius, 1992-2002)
Helen Clark* (Prime Minister of New Zealand, 1999-2008)
John Key (Prime Minister of New Zealand, 2008-2016)
Geoffrey Palmer (Prime Minister of New Zealand, 1989-1990)
Jenny Shipley* (Prime Minister of New Zealand, 1997-1999)
Sir Rabbie Namaliu (Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, 1988-1992)
James Michel* (President of the Seychelles, 2004-2016)
Kgalema Motlanthe (President of South Africa, 2008-2009)
Chandrika Kumaratunga* (President of Sri Lanka, 1994-2005)
* Denotes the signatory is a Member of Club de Madrid, the forum of democratic former presidents and prime ministers