November 30, 2013 – On the occasion of World AIDS Day 2013, HIV treatment activists from the MENA region called on wealthy Gulf States to join the Global Fund donor’s community sharing responsibility and engagement in a common mission to defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Next week (December 2-3, 2013), world leaders and donors will gather in Washington D.C. to make their pledges for the Global Fund’s next replenishment period, 2014–2016. This fourth Replenishment will secure financing for Global Fund-supported programs in more than 140 countries for the period 2014-2016.
The Global Fund announced a goal of raising US$15 billion so that it can effectively support countries in fighting these three infectious diseases in the next three years. Such target would allow the global community, working collectively, to cover 87 percent of the total funding needed to effectively fight the three diseases in the next three years.
“Among the top thirty high-income countries in the world with the largest economies, four Gulf countries can help with their contributions to reach the US$15 billion objective: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates,” said Dr. Othman Mellouk, Regional Advocacy Coordinator of ITPC-MENA. “We call on Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who are already Global Fund donors, to renew their commitment and increase their contribution. But we also invite Qatar and United Arab Emirates who have never pledged or given yet to the Global Fund to share responsibility and join the donor community.”
The Global Fund was created in 2002 to dramatically increase resources for the fight against the three pandemics. Today it supports programs in more than 140 countries. Today, more than 6.1 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy under programs supported by the Global Fund by the end of 2013.
In the MENA region, the Global Fund remains the major donor of HIV prevention and treatment programs. The fund invested $578 million since 2003 saving 204,000 lives and ensuring more than 73,000 people receiving antiretroviral treatment, based on the Global funds own figures.
People living with HIV and treatment activists community from the MENA region fear that if the replenishment target is not reached, the Global Fund reduces in the future the number of eligible countries and focus on the poorest countries in the world. Several MENA States could loose the support of the Global Fund since they are considered middle-income countries. « A such scenario will be catastrophic for the entire MENA region already considered as one of the two fastest growing HIV epidemics in the World,” said Dr. Mellouk. “ We hope that our brothers from the Gulf States will hear our voices.”
ITPC-MENA is a coalition of treatment advocates from the Middle East and North Africa composed of people living with HIV and their supporters that uses a community driven approach to achieve universal access to treatment, prevention and all health care services for people living with HIV and all those in need.