Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis has announced a CHF7 million ($7 million) increase in funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at an international donor conference.
The contribution to the Geneva-based fund, which the government approved in August, will be CHF64 million for the period 2020-22. It is “Switzerland’s largest contribution to the Global Fund to date”, according to a foreign ministry statementexternal link.
The Global Fundexternal link supports programmes run by local experts in more than 100 countries.
Heads of states, CEOs and global health leaders have been gathering in France to try to raise at least $14 billion to finance the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria over the next three years.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who was hosting the conference in the city of Lyon, wants the event to raise more than the $12.2 billion at the previous conference in 2016.
He said France had raised its pledge by 15% to €1.24 billion (CHF1.4 billion). The US Congress has approved a commitment to give $4.68 billion over three years. These countries are the biggest donors.
“As a cantonal doctor, I witnessed the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the mid-1980s in Switzerland and the burden of physical suffering and social stigma experienced by people infected with HIV. The therapies available in Switzerland have been successful, as have the prevention campaigns. But this is not the case in many poorer countries,” Cassisexternal link said.
The Global Fund is one of the most important financing mechanisms in the field of global health and one of the actors that make Geneva an essential centre of expertise in global health, the foreign ministry statement added.
Switzerland had first announced a general funding boost for UN health agencies to tackle the three diseases in August.
The Swiss Malaria Groupexternal link network welcomed Thursday's news of the extra Swiss funding.
“Switzerland as a centre of large pharma companies, internationally active NGOs and strong academic research can, due to this unique combination of knowledge and key players, play an important role for global health and in fighting malaria,” it said in a statement.
Although progress has been made in tackling these diseases since the 1990s, a child dies of malaria every two minutes and tuberculosis has become the deadliest infectious disease worldwide, the foreign ministry said. New HIV infections have also been rising in over 50 countries.