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The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced yesterday (25 April) its first round of grants, channelling US$378 million over two years into efforts to combat the three diseases, which kill six million people a year.

More than half of the money will support activities in Africa, such as a malaria programme that will provide Tanzanian mothers with pesticide-soaked mosquito nets, and a grass-roots AIDS project in Benin.

In total, the grants will fund 40 programmes in 31 countries. An additional US$238 million has been earmarked for a further 18 projects in 12 countries, plus three multi-country proposals, provided certain conditions are met.

The fund — a public-private partnership set up last July — also announced that it has appointed Richard Feachem, a British national and director Institute of Global Health at the University of California, Berkeley, as its executive director.

More than 300 proposals were submitted for the first round of funding. A second call for proposals will be issued later this year.

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