NEW YORK – World leaders will come together at the United Nations in September in order to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Three of the eight MDGs involve bringing primary health services to the entire world’s population. A small amount of global funding, if well directed, could save millions of lives each year. The key step is to expand the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria into a Global Health Fund.
The Global Fund was created in 2002 to help the world battle those three killer diseases, and its accomplishments have been spectacular, making it arguably the most successful innovation in foreign assistance of the past decade. As a result of Global Fund programs, an estimated 2.5 million people are on antiretroviral AIDS therapy. No fewer than eight million people have been cured of TB. And more than 100 million long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed in the fight against malaria. In total, studies suggest that Global Fund programs have saved five million lives.
The Global Fund’s remarkable successes result from its operational procedures. Disease-specific committees, called the Country Coordination Mechanism (CCM), are constituted in each developing country. Each CCM is chaired by the national government, but incorporates input from non-government organizations to formulate national-scale, disease-specific plans for submission to the Global Fund.
Once the Global Fund receives these plans, they are sent to a Technical Review Panel (TRP) to check that the plans are scientifically sound and feasible. If the TRP approves, the plan is sent to the Board of the Global Fund, which then votes to approve financing. Once the program gets underway, the Global Fund follows the implementation of the program, undertaking audits, monitoring, and evaluation. Since 2002, the Global Fund has approved around $19 billion in total funding.