In only 21 years, the Global Fund has made remarkable progress in the fight to eliminate HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria across the world, contributing to 44 million lives saved. Cross-sectoral partnerships that leverage the skills and capabilities of governments, multilateral agencies, bilateral partners, civil society groups, people affected by the diseases, and the private sector are at the core of these achievements. However, the global pandemic has set the world off-track to meet global targets against these diseases that disproportionally affect the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable populations. Partnerships are more crucial than ever to get prevention tools, diagnostics, and treatments to where they are needed most, relates James Anderson, Executive Director, Global Health, at IFPMA.
The biopharmaceutical industry advocates not only for increased innovation, without which the aims of the Global Fund would falter, but also for a reinforced health ecosystem that ensures the supply of novel medical products reaches those who need them.
Making up for the disdisruption caused by the pandemic
Amid the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment seeks 30 percent more funding to start catching up on the progress that has been lost. The Fund is looking to secure USD 18 billion, up from USD 14 billion for 2021-2023, at a time when all donors are being asked to support multiple worthy issues. However, the urgent need to get progress on these three diseases back on track after the disruption caused by the pandemic, as well as to reinforce health systems strengthening and future pandemic preparedness, more than justifies this.
The biopharmaceutical industry is a stalwart partner, stepping up with contributions to the Global Fund and partnerships to support its mission. It remains committed to accelerating the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria through continued innovation for product development, while also strengthening health systems worldwide to ensure better health security in the future.
From discovering novel classes of antiretroviral therapies to the development of new TB diagnostics, to the first ever malaria vaccine launched in 2021, we have continued innovating to help stay on top of the three diseases. New technologies including mRNA and breakthrough diagnostic solutions continue to inspire new approaches to identifying, preventing, and treating HIV, TB, and malaria.
Yet R&D-based innovation for diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines presents only a partial view of our efforts. Industry stakeholders also provide technical expertise and training, as well as funding and advocacy for Global Fund programs. The biopharmaceutical industry advocates not only for increased innovation, without which the aims of the Global Fund would falter, but also for a reinforced health ecosystem that ensures the supply of novel medical products reaches those who need them.
Leveraging collaborations to fight for what counts
Now, more than ever, we need to continue working together to defeat these epidemics, underpinned by a successful replenishment of the Global Fund.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that science has delivered with the help of an unprecedented number of partnerships: cross- and intra-sectoral collaborations, public-private partnerships, and sustainable financing solutions. The ability to quickly work around such an unexpected crisis has provided important learnings. If adopted more broadly, these lessons present an opportunity to reverse worsening trends and improve access to healthcare and life saving drugs through new health solutions. Partnerships also help with local initiatives including awareness and educational campaigns, grassroots and community engagement projects, and capacity building programs.
In this context, IFPMA is launching a report to coincide with the Global Fund replenishment that aims to illustrate the widespread, longstanding, and diverse contributions of the biopharmaceutical industry in advancing progress in the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria. Our member companies are currently engaged in 97 collaborations, operating in 142 countries, and with 566 multi-sector partners.
For example, the ‘Project to Accelerate New Treatments for Tuberculosis’ (PAN-TB), for instance, is a first-of-its-kind collaboration among philanthropic, non-profit, and the private sector that aims to accelerate the development of an investigational drug regimen capable of treating all forms of tuberculosis. Focusing on disease awareness, prevention, and control, the MOSKI KIT program provides an ‘edutainment’ training toolkit for teachers and children to raise awareness and provide education on malaria, supporting better disease prevention, diagnosis, and management.
The industry is not only focused on the development of innovative products, but also on the strengthening of health systems, services, and workforce that are needed to deliver those products. The Mothers2Mothers partnership, is a 16-year partnership supporting the employment of local women living with HIV as frontline health workers. Known as Mentor Mothers, these women provide Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health assistance so that no child is born with HIV and so that mothers can live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives.
Only with a strong and collaborative global community can we build a healthier, safer, and more equitable world. Now, more than ever, we need to continue working together to defeat these epidemics, underpinned by a successful replenishment of the Global Fund. This is a good moment to celebrate all the partners who have shared the vision since 2002 to support the Global Fund, as well as those who have worked tirelessly within their companies, with governments, and civil society to deliver on our joint commitment to the ambition of the Global Fund: to eliminate and control three of the deadliest diseases in the world – HIV, TB, and malaria.