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Fight Against HIV, TB and Malaria Set Back By COVID19.

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Fight Against HIV, TB and Malaria Set Back By COVID19. Photo Courtesy

Fight Against HIV, TB and Malaria Set Back By COVID19

According to a new report released by the Global Fund, the Covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria in 2020.

The report shows that while some progress was made, key programmatic results have declined for the first time in the history of the Global Fund.

Fight Against HIV, TB and Malaria Set Back By COVID19. Photo Courtesy

The number of people treated for drug-resistant TB in the countries where the Global Fund invests dropped by a staggering 19%, with those on treatment for extensively drug-resistant TB registering an even bigger drop of 37% in 2020.

The number of HIV-positive TB patients on antiretroviral treatment as well as TB treatment also dropped by 16%.

“To mark our 20th anniversary, we had hoped to focus this year’s Results Report on the extraordinary stories of courage and resilience that made possible the progress we have achieved against HIV, TB, and malaria over the last two decades,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “But the 2020 numbers force a different focus. They confirm what we feared might happen when COVID-19 struck.”

Fight Against HIV, TB and Malaria Set Back By COVID19. Photo Courtesy

The report further highlights significant declines in HIV testing and prevention services for key and vulnerable populations who were already disproportionately affected.

Compared with 2019, people reached with HIV prevention programs and services declined by 11% while young people reached with prevention services declined by 12%.

Mothers receiving medicine to prevent transmitting HIV to their babies dropped by 4.5%. HIV testing dropped by 22%, holding back HIV treatment initiation in most countries.

Malaria interventions

Interventions to combat malaria appear to have been less badly affected by COVID-19 than the other two diseases, thanks to adaptation measures and the diligence and innovation of community health workers, prevention activities remained stable or increased compared to 2019.

The number of mosquito nets distributed increased by 17%, structures covered by indoor residual spraying increased by 3%. In 2020, 11.5 million pregnant women received preventive therapy. However, suspected cases of malaria tested fell by 4.3%, and progress against the disease stalled.

The Global Fund partnership’s rapid and determined response to COVID-19 prevented an even worse outcome. In 2020, the Global Fund disbursed US$4.2 billion to continue the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria and strengthen systems for health , and approved an additional US$980 million in funding to respond to COVID-19.

Fight Against HIV, TB and Malaria Set Back By COVID19. Photo Courtesy

As of August 2021, the Global Fund has approved a total of US$3.3 billion to more than 100 countries to adapt lifesaving HIV, TB, and malaria programs, provide critical tests, treatments, and medical supplies, protect front-line health workers and urgently reinforce fragile systems for health.

“These investments along with fast action and funding from donors, governments, communities, and health partners helped mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV, TB, and malaria and achieve the progress made in the fight against the three diseases” said the Fund.

Kenya is among the countries that have received funding from the Global Fund for Covid war.

“The Global Fund partnership continues to save lives,” commented Sands. “In the face of the extraordinary challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, our partnership demonstrated flexibility and determination, delivering medicine, supplies, and care to millions of people around the world. Countries we invest in responded quickly to COVID-19 using the same laboratories, disease surveillance, community networks, trained health workers and supply chains that were created to fight HIV, TB and malaria.”

Since its inception in 2002, the Global Fund partnership has saved 44 million lives. The number of deaths caused by AIDS, TB and malaria decreased by 46% in countries where the Global Fund invests.

“Despite the horrible toll COVID-19 has taken, the pandemic presents us with a chance to build a better, more equitable and healthier world,” concluded Sands.

“Together, we have changed the trajectory of HIV, TB and malaria and we are determined to continue to do so.  If we continue to innovate and collaborate — at global, national and local levels– we can end HIV, TB and malaria, beat COVID-19 and build a much stronger foundation for pandemic preparedness and response.”

Felicity Gitonga

Kenya Has Focused On 100% Nutrition Food Security In The Last 4years. AGRF2021

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