Switzerland steps up efforts to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis – Ignazio Cassis announces extra 7 million

Bern, 10.10.2019 - Every year, 2.5 million people die of AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. At a pledging conference hosted in Lyon on Thursday in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis announced a CHF 7 million increase in Switzerland's contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Geneva-based Global Fund is a priority multilateral partner for Switzerland's international cooperation.

Mr Cassis, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), announced the Federal Council's decision to contribute CHF 64 million to the Global Fund for the 2020–22 period. This is an increase of CHF 7 million on the 2017–19 period and Switzerland's largest contribution to the Global Fund to date. The Global Fund was established in 2002. It mobilises and invests more than USD 4 billion annually to support programmes run by local experts in more than 100 countries.

Switzerland's contribution shows its solidarity in favour of multilateralism, global health and efforts to fight poverty around the world. "We reaffirm our support for multilateralism through our decisive engagement in favour of global health, in this year that marks the 100th anniversary of modern multilateralism," Mr Cassis noted in his speech.

At the invitation of President Macron, some 600 people – heads of state and government, private sector actors, and people affected by the diseases – gathered in Lyon to mark their commitment to the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. 

Health today has a strategic dimension. A factor driving growth, prosperity and peace, global health is at the centre of a vision for international political action. The fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is part of this paradigm. "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 low and middle income countries," said Cassis. 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.

Since March 2018, the Global Fund has been based in the Global Health Campus, close to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Remarkable progress has been made in the fight against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis since the 1990s. However, the risk of these diseases regaining ground remains real. Between 2010 and 2017, new HIV infections rose in over 50 countries. A child dies of malaria every two minutes, and tuberculosis has become the most deadly infectious disease worldwide. All three diseases mainly affect the poor.

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