Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”
(New York) – World Lung Foundation today released the following statement from Peter Baldini, Executive Director, regarding the US Government's recently announced expansion of funding for AIDS relief:
“The US Government's recently announced expansion of PEPFAR – the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is a welcome and important contribution to greatly improve the lives of millions of people living with AIDS around the world. Other countries, especially those that are wealthier, would do well to follow suit.
Money is not enough, however. We must also do a better job of seeing that the resources we devote to HIV and other global health epidemics get into the hands of the patients who desperately need them, and that these resources are coordinated to avoid needless duplication.
Currently, operational, financial and human resource skills are so severely lacking in many countries receiving aid that a severe bottleneck is created between the funder and the patient. This lack of skilled human resources on the operational and administrative side receives too little attention especially when we know that only 1 in 3 people of nearly 10 million people in low- and middle-income countries who need treatment for AIDs actually receive it. This is simply unacceptable.
If we are to have a lasting impact on reducing the global burden of disease, donor countries, and development agencies such as the Global Fund must build up the capacity of countries to allocate and manage large funding. And countries receiving aid should make skills building for managing these grants a top priority.
Coordination is also imperative. It is too easy to duplicate efforts or neglect key areas when governments, NGOs and private charities operate in a vacuum. Not nearly enough funding is dedicated to treating children with HIV and the treatment of HIV-related tuberculosis continues to be overlooked even though TB causes nearly one-third of HIV-related deaths. Despite increased production of anti-retroviral medicines, distribution and access continue to fall short.
World Lung Foundation urges each country to do a comprehensive strategic assessment of capabilities, available resources and gaps across all public health entities. Such efforts have already yielded tremendous insights into national programs for TB and malaria. Only when we know what we have and what we need, can we effectively allocate resource