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Annie Lennox has written an article in Britain’s The Guardian on why the UK must increase its support for the Global Fund's battle against AIDS.

“Set up in 2002, the Global Fund’s track record of delivery is the perfect anti-dote to cynicism about development aid,” she wrote. "Mobilising over $19bn, it has empowered over 140 countries to take the lead on mapping their own, inclusive solutions to the health crises caused by the three diseases. The organisation does not have expensive offices and staff stationed around the world. Instead, it works with the people who live in disease affected countries who care most about improving health. It focuses relentlessly on value for money, accountability and results.

“And what results they are. Nearly six million people are alive today thanks to the Global Fund. It has provided anti-retroviral therapy for 2.8 million people living with HIV. Over 142m cases of malaria have been treated and over 122m insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed. The Global Fund has detected and treated 7m new cases of TB. Each year, it ensures thousands of HIV positive mothers don’t transmit the virus to their babies. In 2009 alone, 345,000 pregnant women received such treatment.

“This week, the Global Fund has its three year replenishment conference, when donors pledge what they will donate to cover its work from 2011 to 2013. This meeting will go a long way to determining our chances of meeting the health MDGs and, in turn, saving the lives of millions of people.

“I am proud that the UK has long been a vocal supporter of the Global Fund, and pleased to see the new government has endorsed its impressive results. The development budget has been laudably protected, but the scrutiny of how and where it is spent is just as strict as in any government department. That means every penny we spend on international aid is currently being reviewed – a review that will last until early 2011, and makes an announcement this week of new money for the Global Fund unlikely.

“If this is the case, the UK must send a signal to the rest of the world that this is not a retreat from our commitment to the Global Fund. I hope the incredible contribution the Global Fund has made, and will make, to the health MDGs is rightfully praised. And I hope our promise to deliver universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care, and to end the unnecessary suffering from Malaria and TB, is renewed.

“This support should be endorsed by the results of the aid spending review, leading to an increase in the UK’s commitment to the Global Fund next year. The UK’s fair share of the total required equates to less than 8% of the Global Fund pot – £840m over the next three years.

“When I met with Nelson Mandela in 2003, the father of the new rainbow nation spoke in stark terms about what he called a “virtual genocide” in his country. One thousand people were dying every day from Aids. Those most at risk were that society’s most vulnerable – women and children. From that day, I decided to dedicate myself to making an impact upon those appalling statistics. Today, thanks to the Global Fund and others, that total has almost halved. With the right investment in the Global Fund’s efficient, effective work we should hope for, and see, even better results tomorrow."

To read the full article, click here.

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