By Chioma Obinna
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has announced that 2.3 million people living with HIV have been reached with lifesaving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment through AIDS programmes it supports, a 31 per cent increase over results reported a year ago.
Global Fund-supported tuberculosis programmes have so far put more than 5.4 million people on effective TB drugs treatment. Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among HIV-infected people; the World Health Organisation estimates that TB accounts for up to a third of AIDS deaths worldwide.
The Global Fund also reported progress in the fight against malaria, with a cumulative total of 88 million insecticide-treated bed nets delivered to families at risk of contracting the disease through its funded programmes. This is a rise of 49 per cent from 59 million nets distributed by mid 2008.
The Global Fund provides around 23 per cent of international resources to fight AIDS, as well as 57 per cent of international funding to fight tuberculosis and 60 per cent of international funding to fight malaria.
Mr. Michel Kazatchkine, the Executive Director of the Global Fund said â€œIn less than eight years, the Global Fund has gone from a concept to a driver of change,â€
â€œWhen we first began our work in 2002, few people in developing countries were being treated for AIDS or tuberculosis. Malaria was a neglected disease.Â Many countries simply did not have the resources to fight these diseases effectively.
Now the story is changing dramatically.Â There is still much to be done, but we are making real progress and I am proud that the Global Fund is a leader in this global effort.â€