A new report addressing the current funding crisis at the Global Fund has been released. The report, ‘Bridging the Gap: Why the European Union Must Address The Global Fund’s Funding Crisis to Tackle the Escalating HIV and TB Epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia’, addresses concerns that middle-income countries, particularly those in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) with a high burden of TB and HIV, will be particularly vulnerable to The Global Fund’s recent reduction in funding.
The report uses the case studies of Belarus, Romania and Russia in order to highlight how a failure to fund HIV and TB programmes will contribute to already increasing rates of disease. Worryingly, it also discusses how the funding shortfall is likely to result in an increase in drug-resistance strains of TB. In Romania, for example, the report suggests that “funds have been used to provide two drugs for MDR- and XDR-TB patients that are not available anywhere else in the country. A reliable and on-going supply of these drugs is critical to prevent a further increase in drug resistance”. Evidently, not only will the funding crisis cost lives in the EECA region, but the report states how it will also cause an enormous drain on EECA economies due to increased treatment costs and lost productivity.
Highlighting that a failure to adequately address the impact of TB and HIV is largely due to a lack of political will and financial commitment, and that there is also no viable substitute for the Global Fund in the EECA region, the report offers key recommendations for the EU in response to the funding shortfall. Recommendations include, honouring existing pledges with regards to the Global Fund; prioritising the tackling of societal challenges in EECA; ensuring that the European Social Fund (ESF) social inclusion activities reaching out to vulnerable groups most at risk integrate and mainstream TB and HIV components; and embrace harm reduction as a drug policy at the highest political level. In its capacity as a board member of the Global Fund, the report also recommends the EU support the revision of the eligibility criteria to ease restrictions on engagement in middle-income countries, and that it broadly consult European citizens and partners on the funding model and protects the Global Fund’s core principles. Significantly, there are also comprehensive recommendations made for the EU with regards to, EU member states with a high-burden of TB and/or HIV; for Eastern partnership countries; for the Russian Federation; and for Central Asia.
In outlining the impact that the Global Fund’s funding shortfall will have in EECA and offering recommendations for the EU on how to deal with this shortfall, the report is a valuable contribution in the effort to ensure that the needs of those in EECA are not overlooked with regards to TB and HIV.
Following on from this new report, share your support by requesting urgent action from your MEP to ensure that the EU honours its pledge to scale up support for the Global Fund. Tweet these messages below, or create your own!
- The Global Fund needs YOU! Ensure that the EU honours its pledge to scale up support for the Global Fund and help combat TB and HIV.
- The Global Fund has saved 190,000 lives in Eastern Europe and Central Asia since 2002. Support the Global Fund and help save lives!
- No one should die from TB – ensure that the EU honours its pledge to scale up support for the Global Fund and stop unnecessary deaths!
- Together we can save lives. Ensure the EU honours its pledge to scale up support for the Global Fund.
To see if your MEP has twitter, look them up here.