The right to treatment: The Global Fund strives to achieve universal HIV/AIDS care

This month, we’ll be featuring blog posts that help illustrate how the Global Fund affects programs that fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria around the world. In this article, Dr. Joia Mukherjee of Partners in Health (PIH), who participated in our ONE Haiti conference call in January, highlights the partnership between the Fund and PIH.

It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since all 191 United Nations member states agreed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Yet the lack of progress on the final one — a global partnership for development — has hampered the achievement of all others. The one shining light in such a partnership for global development is the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The Global Fund was partly established by activists in the developed and developing world, otherwise known as the “global North and South.” Many of these activists were living with HIV and wanted to start an organization that could help achieve universal HIV/AIDS treatment.
The Fund is a novel mechanism; it is a multilateral fund, independent of the United Nations and financed by donors from the government and private sector. Its structure has allowed even some of the poorest countries to expand treatment for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria as a basic right for free, largely through the public sector, with support from non-government organizations and the private sector.
The Fund has put more money into the public health sector than any previous initiative , and a consortium convened by the World Health Organization documented the positive synergies that this money has had not just on MDG 6 — combating AIDS, malaria and other diseases — but the health sector in general.
My organization, PIH, has been working to provide health care and improve the social determinants of health for the destitute for more than 20 years. As one of the recipients of first-round Global Fund monies in Haiti, we set out to build public sector health systems and tackle poverty as a critical component to our HIV response.
This work, supported by the Global Fund since its inception, has resulted in the rehabilitation and revitalization of 52 public facilities in ten countries around the globe. The public sector-NGO community partnership that has developed in the course of this work is poised to meet 4 and 5, the other health-related MDGs as well.
As the 2010 MDG summit approaches and the challenges to achieve the MDGs are addressed, it is critical to note the importance that dedicated funding for MDG 6 has had not only in achieving the right to HIV, TB and malaria treatment, but in improving the systems to deliver health care around the world.