Extreme weather events such as floods push health systems to their limits, displace entire communities, cause outbreaks and disrupt the delivery of treatments in many places
Climate change and conflicts complicate efforts to combat them the three deadliest diseases worldwide, warned the head of the Global Fund to fight it AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
International initiatives to combat these diseases have rebounded after being affected by the covid-19 pandemic, according to a Global Fund report published today.
But the growing challenges posed by climate change and conflict mean the world is likely to fall short of its goal of eliminating AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030 unless it takes “extraordinary steps”, he said. Peter Sands executive director of the Global Fund.
For example, malaria is spreading in more mountainous regions of Africa, which until recently were too cold for the mosquito that transmits the disease to survive.
Extreme weather events, such as floodspushing health systems to their limits, displacing entire communities, triggering outbreaks and disrupting treatment in many places, the report notes.
In countries such as Sudan, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Myanmar even access to vulnerable communities was particularly difficult due to insecurity.
But Sands pointed out that there are also positives, such as that in 2022, 6.7 million people received treatment for tuberculosis in the countries the Global Fund invests in, 1.4 million people more than the previous year.
The Fund also helped provide antiretroviral treatment for HIV to 24.5 million people and distributed 220 million mosquito nets.
Sands added that innovative prevention tactics and diagnostic tools also offer hope.
A high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis will take place at the UN General Assembly this week, raising hopes that the global community will focus more on tackling it.
The Global Fund has been criticized by tuberculosis experts for not devoting more of its budget to the disease, which kills more people than the other two the agency deals with.
“There is no doubt that the world needs to devote more resources to fighting tuberculosis (…) but it is not as simple as a comparison between the annual number of deaths from each disease,” Sands pointed out.
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