Switzerland renews its commitment to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Bern, 23.08.2017 - The Federal Council has approved a budget of CHF 57 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) for the period from 2017 to 2019. As host country and one of the founding members, Switzerland has been an important partner for the Global Fund since it was created in 2002. Over the past 15 years, the Global Fund has helped save millions of lives and made great strides in combating these diseases. As ongoing pandemics, however, they still pose a major public health problem in middle and low-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, millions of deaths could still be avoided each year.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, launched after these three diseases were included in the Millennium Development Goals, has helped make significant progress in the fight against these diseases. Programmes supported by the Global Fund have saved 20 million lives and brought the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria down by a third since 2002. Between 2012 and 2015 alone, such programmes averted 146 million new infections from these three diseases.

Despite the progress made, these pandemics still pose a major public health problem in middle and low-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where they represent a serious obstacle to economic and social development. In an effort to build momentum against these diseases and ultimately overcome them, they were included in the Sustainable Development Goals as a stand-alone goal (SDG 3): ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’. Today the Global Fund is one of the main financing instruments in reaching this target.

The Global Fund’s new strategy for 2017 to 2022, Investing to end epidemics, is based on its vision of ending the epidemic nature of these three illnesses. Efforts in this direction are closely connected to efforts to eliminate extreme poverty, empower women and girls, enable greater access to education, combat climate change and encourage inclusive economic growth. The Global Fund strategy thus corresponds to the agenda of Switzerland’s foreign policy on health and, in particular, its targets in controlling infectious diseases, building stronger health systems and regarding International Geneva.

The Global Fund is a powerful and crucial partner in the fight against these three transmissible diseases, which together are responsible for the premature death of 2.6 million people each year, mainly women and children, and undermine development efforts in the worst-hit countries. The Global Fund has produced significant results and saved an impressive number of lives since being launched 15 years ago.

Following today’s decision, the Federal Council will allocate a contribution of CHF 57 million to the Global Fund for the 2017–20 period. This is a CHF 3 million decrease on the last replenishment period, in line with the budget adjustment announced by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

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