Global health fund running out of cash
Financial statements presented to the fund’s fourth board meeting last week indicate that at least US$6.3 billion is needed over the next two years to ensure continued funding. So far, however, governments and the private sector have only pledged about US$2 billion to the initiative.
During the meeting, in which the US secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, was elected as the fund's president, awards of US$866 million were made to 60 developing countries.
This will bring the total disbursed by the fund since it was launched to US$1.5 billion. G8 leaders meeting in Genoa, Italy in July 2001 committed US$1.3 billion to the fund, with the United States making the biggest pledge of US$500 million. But so far it has only contributed half of this amount.
Thompson urged countries to expand their commitments to the fund, adding that there was a need for more resources to be invested in scientifically sound projects.
Ethiopia is the biggest beneficiary of the second tranche of grants, receiving US$93.3 million over two years for programmes to combat HIV/AIDS and malaria. Three states in India received the largest single country grant within Asia of US$38.8 million for programmes against tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.