Under the effects of Covid-19, the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria steps back for the first time in 2 decades
Today, Wednesday 8 September 2021, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria released its annual results report of its programmes to fight the three diseases.
The results for the year 2020 are catastrophic, with, for the first time in the Global Fund’s history, a decline in the results of the programmes it finances, despite the determined efforts of the Global Fund and its partners to fight the three diseases and respond to the health emergency of Covid-19.
The dramatic impact of Covid-19 on TB
In 2020, despite the impact of Covid-19, the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment through the Global Fund increased by almost 9% compared to 2019, from 20.1 million to 21.9 million, as did the number of insecticide-treated nets distributed to prevent malaria, which increased by 17% compared to 2019.
However, these positive results are offset by a decline in the number of people accessing HIV prevention or malaria diagnosis services.
Covid-19 had a major impact on access to TB treatment. The number of people on treatment fell by 18% in 2020, from 5.7 million in 2019 to 4.7 million.
TB was the world’s deadliest infectious disease in 2019, killing 1.4 million people. The decline in diagnosed TB cases, particularly multidrug-resistant forms, and the potential growth in undetected TB cases portend devastating effects in the coming years.
The extremely worrying results in the fight against the three diseases take us further away from the Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030.
Act quickly and do more and better
As soon as the global health crisis began in the first quarter of 2020, the Global Fund responded by allowing the implementing countries to reallocate a portion of their grants to prepare for and respond to Covid-19 while maintaining health services for the three diseases. Through a dedicated funding mechanism for the Covid-19 response, the Global Fund has mobilised USD 3.3 billion as of August 2021 in more than 100 countries to fight Covid-19, protect front-line health workers and adapt programmes to fight the three diseases.
Recognising the devastation that Covid-19 would have on the fight against the other diseases , experts and the Global Fund have called on the international community to urgently increase funding to respond to Covid-19 and protect programmes to fight AIDS, TB and malaria. An amount of USD 34.2 billion  was estimated to respond to these emergencies. But today, just over half of the requested amount has been committed to cover these needs, i.e. 18.1 billion dollars.
Sylvie Chantereau, Director of Friends of the Global Fund Europe, deplores: “For the first time in 20 years, the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria is losing ground. The effects of Covid-19 on these three diseases could be permanently devastating if the international community does not react quickly. It is imperative that the next Global Fund Replenishment Conference in 2022 demonstrates that more and better can be done to meet commitments to fight AIDS, TB and malaria while combating Covid-19, and that the Global Fund has the full force of multilateral action and partner expertise to support implementing countries in their response to current and future health threats, including through improved health systems.”
– Read the Global Fund’s results report (in English)
– Read the executive summary (in English)
 Friends of the Global Fund’s press release (French) : “La Covid-19 menace des décennies de progrès dans la lutte contre les trois pandémies”, September 16, 2020