Deaths from HIV, TB, Malaria could almost double in 12 months unless urgent action is taken: warns Global Fund COVID-19 report
- by Team ABLE - 25 Jun, 2020
A new report released by the Global Fund estimates that countries affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria urgently need $28.5 billion to protect the extraordinary progress achieved in the fight against the three diseases in the past two decades.
The report, ‘Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Countries Affected by HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria’, was released to highlight the impact of COVID-19 and resources needed to protect progress against HIV, TB and malaria – diseases that still kill more than 2.4 million people a year.
Since 2002, the Global Fund partnership has helped save more than 32 million lives and cut HIV, TB and malaria deaths by nearly half since the peak of the epidemics. The COVID-19 pandemic now threatens to reverse that progress.
Aside from the direct toll of COVID-19, which could be catastrophic in the most vulnerable countries, estimates suggest deaths from HIV, TB and malaria could as much as double if systems for health are overwhelmed, treatment and prevention programs are disrupted, and resources are diverted.
Globally, that means the annual death toll from HIV, TB and malaria could be set back to levels not seen since the peak of the epidemics, wiping out nearly two decades of progress in the worst-hit regions.
"The stakes are extraordinarily high," said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "The knock-on effects of COVID-19 on the fight against HIV, TB and malaria and other infectious diseases could be catastrophic. Mitigating that impact will require swift action, extraordinary levels of leadership and collaboration, and significant extra resources. Above all, we must leave no one behind."
For the poorest and most vulnerable communities already afflicted by HIV, TB and malaria, COVID-19 represents a fundamental threat. Not only are they extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 itself, but they are likely to be even more at risk from HIV, TB and malaria. The economic impact of COVID-19 will also fall most heavily on such communities, so nutritional deficiencies and the collapse of services will exacerbate their susceptibility to disease.
“Mounting an effective response to COVID-19 and mitigating the impact on HIV, TB and malaria will require significantly more resources than have been made available thus far. The Global Fund has worked with partners to estimate the likely needs in the countries where the Global Fund invests. We estimate that approximately US$28.5 billion is required for the next 12 months to adapt HIV, TB and malaria programs to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, to train and protect health workers, to reinforce systems for health so they don't collapse, and to respond to COVID-19 itself, particularly through testing, tracing and isolation and by providing treatments as they become available (this does not include the cost of a vaccine)” reads the press release.
Aside from the direct toll of COVID-19, which could be catastrophic in the most vulnerable countries, estimates suggest deaths from HIV, TB and malaria could as much as double.