Why the Global Fund Is a Terrific Investment

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced today that it will need $15 billion to continue its life-saving work. If the world comes together to meet this replenishment goal, it will build on one of its greatest achievements of the past decade by saving millions more lives. HIV, TB and malaria are three of the world's biggest killers, but thanks to the Global Fund we are starting to make significant progress in controlling them. Now is the time for governments and other donors to make new pledges to the Fund (you can help by getting involved with groups such as the ONE Campaign.)

The Global Fund is a central player in the progress being achieved on HIV, TB and malaria. It channels resources to help countries fight these diseases. I believe in its impact because I have seen it firsthand. Last summer while I was in Zambia I met Florence Daka, an HIV-positive mother of four. Florence is living proof of the tremendous progress we've made in HIV - she not only leads a healthy life, but her young son Stephen was born HIV free thanks to the antiretroviral treatment.

I've said before that the Global Fund is one of the kindest things people have ever done for each other. It's also one of the most valuable investments a donor can make. To date, the Fund has saved an estimated nine million lives treating HIV (four million people treated), preventing malaria (310 million bed nets delivered) and testing for infectious TB (10 million cases diagnosed). Because of its scale, the Global Fund has started to change the trajectory of epidemics. As a result, we have made real progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health.

One of Global Fund's many strengths is its commitment to getting the most out of every dollar. For example, the Fund helps countries choose cost-effective medicines and other tools, and has helped significantly reduce their prices. Today, a bed net to protect a child from malaria costs just $10. The Fund is also serious about measurement. It sets clear goals and publishes performance metrics. (If you've read my Annual Letter, you know how critical this is.)

The Fund is poised to have an even greater impact in the future. Knowledge of how to effectively control HIV, TB and malaria is rapidly expanding. Promising tools, such as better medicines and vaccines, are in development. But it's the funding decisions made today that will determine our ability to capitalize on these opportunities for years to come.

In the decade since it was established, the Global Fund has received generous contributions from governments and other supporters around the world. My foundation has invested nearly $1.5 billion and I see the payoff in lives saved. So do developing countries, as more and more of them increase their own domestic spending on AIDS, TB and malaria. These investments deserve to continue.