Hello from Friends! Here is a quick look at what's new in our work to fight AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in the age of COVID-19.
Dr. Tom Frieden and Friends Discuss How To Prepare for the Next Pandemic
  • Dr. Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spoke with Friends President and CEO Chris Collins on April 28 about health security and how the United States and the world should take action to prepare for the next pandemic.

  • “The Global Fund is effective at working in-country, it’s effective at moving resources accountably. This has to be done carefully because the stakeholders are different at the national level for preparedness than they are for HIV, TB and malaria, but the Global Fund is, in my view, the most likely major contributor to rapidly improving preparedness globally,” he told us.

  • On the impact of COVID-19 on TB, he explained that “right now, we are in a terrible situation. TB control has been set back for years… Many patients weren’t diagnosed, many patients didn’t continue treatment, there has been a huge spread of TB.”
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Global Health's Centrality to U.S. Foreign Policy: The Best Policy Tools
If we’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s the great necessity of global health to U.S. foreign policy. This virtual panel was hosted by Friends of the Global Fight, Foreign Policy for America and the George W. Bush Institute.

The event featured opening remarks from Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) (taped remarks), Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Albertson and Bush Institute Executive Director Holly Kuzmich, followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A session. Panelists included Joshua Blumenfeld, Joanne Carter and Dr. Jendayi Frazer. Friends Policy Director Shannon Kellman moderated.
New Global Fund Report Shows Massive Disruptions to Health Care Caused by COVID-19 in Africa and Asia
“This snapshot underscores the scale of the challenge,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “HIV prevention has been knocked backwards. With the dramatic drop in case management for malaria, we face a real risk for a spike in mortality. Much of the progress we’ve made to close the gap on finding 'missing' people with TB has been reversed. The stark truth is that we will see more incremental deaths from HIV, TB and malaria in 2021 as a consequence of the disruption caused by COVID-19 in 2020.”
"The data collected shows that for April to September 2020, compared to the same six-month period in 2019:

  • HIV testing fell 41%.
  • TB referrals – where patients suspected of having TB are referred to the next step of diagnosis and treatment – declined by 59%.
  • Malaria diagnoses fell by 31%.
  • Antenatal care visits fell by 43%.

The spot-checks also highlighted a critical lack of tests, treatments and PPE needed to fight COVID-19, particularly in Africa:

  • Only 45% of health facilities had enough essential PPE items for its health workers, including masks, disinfectant, gloves and hand sanitizer.
  • Across the 24 countries in Africa that were surveyed, only 11% of health facilities could conduct COVID-19 antigen rapid diagnostic tests, and only 8% could conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests."

"The snapshot also shows that countries that implemented adaptive measures to counter the impact of COVID-19 on health service continuity fared better than those that did not adapt. "
The Global Fund is Taking Action to Fight COVID-19 In India
  • India's health system is being overwhelmed by COVID-19, and a severe scarcity of oxygen is contributing to a rapidly increasing death toll. The Global Fund has worked with India for years to fight TB and is taking action to provide essential resources as India battles COVID-19.

  • As part of the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism, the Global Fund has approved a fast-track funding application to purchase oxygen concentrators and to finance Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants to help meet the medium-term needs for medical oxygen.

  • This funding is possible because of the recent U.S. contribution to the Global Fund's COVID-19 Response Mechanism.

  • The Global Fund is working closely with the Government of India and national partners to identify solutions to the most critical needs.
How COVID-19 is Affecting AIDS, TB and Malaria
With U.S. and other donors' support, the Global Fund's COVID-19 Response Mechanism is stepping up to protect AIDS, TB and malaria responses from the impact of COVID-19.
  • AIDS: Benefits of continuing to provide life-saving HIV services outweigh the risk of COVID-19 transmission by 100 to 1 (WHO)

  • Tuberculosis: "Before COVID-19, tuberculosis was the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing almost 4,000 people per day in 2019. Once the pandemic recedes, global health experts expect that tuberculosis will reclaim its top killer status.” (POLITICO)

How the Global Fund is Taking Action:

  • The Global Fund Board extended the COVID-19 Response Mechanism to protect HIV, TB and malaria responses as COVID-19 impacts health systems.

  • Learn more about the Global Fund's new funding eligibility system.
We're tracking the intersection of COVID-19 and AIDS, TB and malaria. See regular updates on our website.
Global Health News
  • Malaria and COVID-19: Q&A with Dr. Scott Filler (Global Fund)

  • Global Fund Thanks Germany for Additional COVID-19 Response Mechanism Contribution (Global Fund)
Be sure to check www.theglobalfight.org for the latest. Thanks for your support.
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