Switzerland steps up the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria

Bern, 21.08.2019 - Every year, 2.5 million people die of AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. At its meeting of 21 August 2019, the Federal Council approved a contribution of CHF 64 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) for the 2020–22 period and a further CHF 30 million for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for the 2019–21 period. With this funding and its expertise, Switzerland aims to reduce global health risks while strengthening Geneva's position as a centre of excellence in the field of global health.

Remarkable progress has been made since the 1990s in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria. Nevertheless, between 2010 and 2017 over 50 countries saw an increase in the number of new HIV infections. Every two minutes, a child dies of malaria, and TB has become the most deadly infectious disease worldwide. These three diseases mainly affect poor and marginalised populations, hamper the socio-economic development of the countries concerned and do not stop at national borders.

Through its funding for these two Geneva-based organisations, Switzerland is making an important contribution to combating poverty and strengthening national health systems. The Global Fund and UNAIDS are helping governments to control the three epidemics effectively. The Sustainable Development Goals set out in the 2030 Agenda can only be achieved if healthcare is improved worldwide. By fighting these infectious diseases effectively, we can reduce global health risks and thereby also enhance security in Switzerland .

The large number of key stakeholders based in Switzerland – from pharmaceutical companies to international organisations – makes the country an important hub for global health. As a member of the executive boards of the Global Fund and UNAIDS, Switzerland brings its experience to bear and advocates for the effective use of resources – in particular through greater collaboration between these two complementary organisations – and promotes the participation of people affected by the epidemics, as well as civil society, the private sector and the scientific community in order to ensure effective and sustainable responses to these diseases. This inclusive approach bolsters the fight against these diseases and contributes to Geneva's positioning as a global centre of excellence.

The Global Fund is a partnership designed to stop the spread of the HIV, TB and malaria epidemics in low- and middle-income countries. It enables, for example, beneficiary countries to invest funds in screening tests, medicines and improved health services. Since 2002, the Global Fund and its partners, which include Swiss companies and research institutes engaged in the fight against these three diseases, have been instrumental in saving 27 million lives.  For its next replenishment, the Global Fund has increased its appeal and seeks to raise  USD 14 billion to step up the fight against these epidemics. Switzerland has responded to this appeal by increasing its contribution to CHF 64 million for the 2020–22 period.

UNAIDS is a joint programme of the UN Secretariat and 11 UN agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), whose combined technical expertise enables it to put forward the most effective response to HIV/AIDS and support the worst-affected countries. UNAIDS makes recommendations based on scientific evidence and experience gained from programmes on the ground in order to assist governments and organisations such as the Global Fund in their efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. Since the epidemic peaked in 1994, UNAIDS has made a significant contribution to reducing new infections by 47 %. In 2017, for the first time, over half of the 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS had access to treatment. Switzerland will continue to support UNAIDS with a contribution of CHF 30 million for the 2019-21 period.

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