Covid-19 has had a “devastating impact” on the fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis

For the first time since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund is reporting backtracking in the fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis around the world, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the annual report published by the foundation on Wednesday, September 8, the figures for 2020 “Confirm what we feared when the Covid-19 appeared”, summarized Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Fund. “The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating. For the first time in our history, our main indicators are on the decline ”.

The fight against tuberculosis particularly affected

Covid-19 has severely disrupted access to health systems, screening tests and treatment in many countries. The pandemic has had consequences in particular “Catastrophic” in the fight against tuberculosis. In 2020, the number of people treated for drug-resistant tuberculosis fell by 19%. In countries where the Global Fund invests, some 4.7 million people with the disease have received treatment, about one million fewer than in 2019.

Read also Covid-19 is draining resources devoted to tuberculosis, warns WHO

On the fight against HIV, the impact of Covid is also significant. While the number of positive people receiving antiretroviral therapy continued to increase, by 9% in 2020, report shows a decline “Alarming” prevention and screening services for key and vulnerable people.

The number of people reached by AIDS prevention programs decreased by 11% in 2020, by 12% among the youngest populations. The number of treatments given to mothers to prevent their babies from contracting the virus has fallen by 4.5%. AIDS testing has declined by 22% overall, delaying the start of treatment in most countries. In countries where the Global Fund invests, 21.9 million people were on antiretroviral therapy for HIV in 2020, an increase of 8.8% from 2019.

So far, malaria programs appear to have been less affected by Covid-19, the report continues. In particular, the number of mosquito nets distributed continued to grow, by 17% in 2020. In fact, in a number of countries, volunteers engaged in the fight against the disease have abandoned distributions in large centers, incompatible with the pandemic, for the benefit of door-to-door.

However, the number of screenings of people suspected of having malaria fell by 4.3% in 2020. And progress to contain the disease has stagnated, deplores the Fund.

Read also AIDS: the number of deaths is declining in the world, but screening and care remain insufficient

Some glimmers of hope

The Covid-19 pandemic shed light on the“Critical importance” health systems around the world, says the Fund. There are some glimmers of hope, however: it has been at the origin of a number of innovations which have benefited the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Read also In Cameroon, a biological insecticide to fight malaria

In Nigeria, for example, the national AIDS control agency appropriately carried out HIV tests on people who went to medical centers for Covid tests, reports the Fund. Result: the detections of positive people increased.

In 2020, the Fund’s rapid response to the pandemic made it possible to avoid the worst, he also welcomes. Last year, he spent 4.2 billion dollars (about 3.5 billion euros) to continue to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

The Global Fund is an original partnership between States, civil society, the private sector and patients. Half of its funds go to the fight against AIDS and half to malaria and tuberculosis. Since its creation in 2002, it claims 44 million lives saved.

Summary of our series “What is the Global Fund for?” “

The result of a partnership between States, organizations, the private sector and patients, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria invests nearly 4 billion dollars per year (nearly 3.7 billion euros) to support programs to combat these three diseases. Organized every three years, the fundraising conference of this international organization takes place on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 October in Lyon, under the chairmanship of Emmanuel Macron. The World Africa traveled to Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Ghana and Mali to see concrete examples of this mobilization. Zoom in reports.

episode 1 In Morocco, therapeutic mediators are an essential link in the fight against HIV
Episode 2 In Abidjan, tuberculosis “turns” on drugs
Episode 3 “Hamdoullah! I don’t have HIV! »: Morocco at the bedside of drug users
Episode 4 In Ghana, children are vaccinated against malaria
Episode 5 In Ivory Coast, the secret life of an HIV-positive teenager
Episode 6 In Mali, communities at the heart of the fight against malaria

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