There’s been a lot of hoo-hah this week in and around the UN General Assembly meeting in New York City focused on maintaining the world’s progress against poverty, especially diseases of poverty – aka global health.
Nothing perhaps inspires more hoo-hah in the global health arena than the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – and for good reason. The Global Fund has saved millions of lives by getting life-saving drugs to people with HIV, TB and malaria, by getting tens of millions of bed nets out to prevent malaria and by literally bringing back to life many of the poorest, most ravaged communities on Earth. It now pays for most TB and malaria care worldwide, and one-fifth of the world’s response to HIV-AIDS.
It’s easy to forget how hopeless we all felt little more than a decade ago regarding the deadly threat of these major killers. It’s easy to forget how crazy ambitious it was to launch the Global Fund. AIDS was burning a wide swath through Africa, which the Economist magazine notoriously dubbed “The Hopeless Continent.” Hardly anyone even thought much about the millions dying from TB and malaria.
The Global Fund was, and is, one of the most hopeful, compassionate and impressive things the international community has done in a long time. That’s why it’s being celebrated in and around the grand UN confab this week. That’s why everyone cheered at the stunning statistics of lives saved, as well as when Britain announced this week it would give another $1.6 billion to the Global Fund, and it’s also why some are clamoring for even more funds – since many millions more are still not reached.
But like most things we humans do when we rush in to fix something, the Global Fund was also seriously flawed.
And it’s high time we deal with the flaws. Or so says Amanda Glassman, a global health expert and author of a new report called More Health for the Money. Here’s the video version:
What? There are 200 different kind of bed nets to prevent malaria? How can that be? Continue reading