Bill Gates Foundation gives $750 million to Global Fund

Diane Alter – AHN News Reporter

Davos, Switzerland (AHN) – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave $750 million Thursday to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The donation will help ensure that the organization can keep supplying AIDS drugs while its tries to find ways to deal with decreased donations due to the downturn in the economy.

The Global Fund has distributed $15.1 billion to low income countries over the past decade. In November, it said it would not award any new grants until 2014.

Nearly all of the fund’s money comes from governments in the industrialized world, many of which are not willing to increase their donations, or in some cases, to fulfill previous pledges.

Fears have been mounting that some AIDS programs in Africa may run out of money, leaving patients without the antiretroviral drugs that are keeping them alive.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gates said, “These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest.”

Also in Davos. former Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan said his country would donate $340 million. Last year’s donation was only $110 million due to the enormous domestic needs that arose from the devastating tsunami and earthquake that ravaged the country.

In addition to paying for antiretroviral drugs for 3.3 million people, the Global Fund has underwritten 8.6 million tuberculosis treatments, and provided 230 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets for the prevention of malaria.

During its existence, the Global Fund has paid for 1,042 programs in about 150 countries.

The United States is the largest donor to the fund, contributing $5.8 billion to date.

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