Canada helps raise $13 billion to fight epidemics

The pledge for donations is important to fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria which kill 3 million people every year around the world.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes closing remarks to the Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in Montreal.

While war and political turmoil continue to be the major news around the world, Canada has helped a health fund raise enough money to save 8 million lives by fighting deadly epidemics over the course of next few years.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has raised over $12.9 billion from international donors at a conference in Montreal, the organisers said on Saturday.

The fund asked government, faith-based and private-sector partners to raise a total of $13 billion to support its activities over the next three years, starting in 2017.

"We can declare success for we have saved the lives of 8 million people in the coming years," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters after attending the conference, which drew several heads of state, singer Bono and Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.

The attention generated by the conference "has ensured that the donations are going to continue to flow in" during the coming weeks and months, Trudeau said.

The Global Fund, the world's largest aimed at fighting the three diseases, is credited with saving 20 million lives since it was established in 2002.

"We have the knowledge and tools to end HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics by 2030, but we need to invest smartly and with focus to make it happen," Mark Dybul, the fund's executive director, said in a statement.

The United States, the fund's largest donor, in August pledged up to $4.3 billion through 2019. The amount is subject to congressional approval.

France, Germany and Canada have together pledged another $2.5 billion for the fund.

Singer Bono speaks with Canada's PM Trudeau, Dr. Dybul and Gates during the Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund. Source: Reuters

The fund was created to tackle what is known among health experts as the "big three" epidemics responsible for taking 3 million lives every year. 

Replenishment of the fund is essential in fight to eradicate the epidemics, wrote Madhukar Pai and David Eidelman, two senior officials of the McGill University, in an article for Huffington Post

"Canada is showing the world how to get this done," they said.

Bono also praised the country. “It’s just great to see Canada leading on this,” he said, according to National Post

“You’ve always been ahead of the curve in realizing we can do more if the international community works together and subsuming your ego into the grand plan.”

Bill Gates, who played a significant role in creation of the Global Fund, said more funding from governments was required to achieve the target of completely eradicating the diseases by 2030.

The fund raising round was followed by a concert where entry was free but people were required to raise awareness about the diseases on social media. 

TRTWorld, Reuters