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Global fund for AIDS feels recession heat

delhi Updated: Nov 06, 2008 20:35 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Hindustan Times
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The global economic crisis has hit the US $20 billion Global Fund, the Geneva-based international agency that fights HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis that funds programmes to 136 countries.

Worried by the impending resource crunch, executives from the Fund are in India for the Round 8 meeting of the fund and disburse US$ 3.2 billion to various countries, including India.

“The global meltdown has obviously led to the shortage of funds. The donors, especially from the private sector are becoming conservative,” said Christoph Benn, Director, partnership communications and resource mobilization centre at the Global Fund, who is in Delhi to enter partnerships with government as well as the private sector.

“So far we’ve been able to raise about $20 billion but that is obviously insufficient to meet the huge disease burden especially in Sub Saharan region of Africa and in Asia,” he said.

“There is a need to reverse the disease trends, which will not only benefit the individual but also the business community at large. We as private sector do have a social corporate responsibility—it is also important for economic productivity,” said Clive Haswell, chief executive officer, Standard Chartered, Sri Lanka, who is in Delhi for the CII-hosted Friends of the Global Fund South and West Asia board meeting.

“Standard Chartered will act as facilitator between Global Fund and the local bodies. We have two important roles to play—to help apply for funds and also to promote advocacy,” he said.

Everyone agreed that there is need for advocacy and increased communication. “So far there was a lack of two-way traffic, while there were fund providers, there was an absence of informed recipients. We want to empower the people, such that they know what to want and how to want it,” said Dr Ranjit Roy Choudhary, chairman of Task Force for Research at Apollo Hospitals.