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Head of Global Fund Makes Case for Health Aid Amid Economic Crisis

The Global Fund, the largest contributor to programs that prevent and treat the three most deadly diseases in developing nations, is facing an anticipated $5 billion funding gap through 2010, due to an increase in demand from eligible countries.

The House is expected to approve $4.9 billion for bilateral HIV/AIDS programs in 2009 this week, and another $900 million for the Global Fund, up from $840 million in 2008. But, said Global Fund Head Michel Kazatchkine, the rise in demand will necessitate a substantial rise in commitments, and the Global Fund will be requesting three times that amount, $2.7 billion, from the United States for 2010.

AIDS activists are concerned the president’s 2010 budget, which he is submitting to Congress on Feb. 26, will not contain a substantial increase in funding.

In the current economic conditions, Kazatchkine said, the needs of the developing countries will continue to grow and a failure of donor countries to meet those needs could have far reaching consequences for progress thus far and security.

The World Health Organization and the World Bank have both warned in recent months of the negative health impacts the global economic crisis could have in developing nations if health funding can’t be sustained and social safety nets are not in place.

Hear Dr. Kazatchkine discuss the Global Fund’s financial situation and the global economic crisis:

Hear Dr. Kazatchkine discuss what he would like to see from the new U.S. administration in the global health arena:

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