On June 8th 2013, RESULTS was celebrating the success of the ‘Nutrition for Growth’ event; world leaders had come together in London and pledged $4.1 billion for tackling the global scourge of undernutrition, with the UK alone promising £655 million in new money.
Over the past 10 years, the UK Government, using money raised through taxation, has giving over £1 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.That support has enabled the Global Fund to support over 1000 programs in 151 countries.
Despite the focus on hunger and poverty in the MDGs, under nutrition remains a problem of almost unimaginable proportions. In 2010 it was estimated that 925 people in developing countries were suffering from some form of under nutrition- that’s up from 824 million in 1990.
Every year the rich mines of South Africa produce up to 190,000 kilos of gold.......but at a huge human cost. Due to a combination of social, biological and environmental factors the men that mine this gold have the highest rates of TB in the world. Many of miners are migrant workers, and as they return to their communities in surrounding countries they are bringing with them the deadly TB contracted at the mines, spreading it to between 10-15 people per year.
“If TB and HIV are a snake in southern Africa, then the head of the snake is here in South Africa. People come from all over the region to work in our mines and they export TB and HIV, along with their earnings. If we want to kill a snake, we need to hit it on its head.” Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, South Africa
Tuberculosis in Southern Africa’s mines is running rampant. Mine workers in the region have the highest rates of TB in the world, and an estimated 760,000 cases in Southern Africa are linked back to the mines. A combination of social, physical and biological factors are working together to create a ‘perfect storm’ of disease that leaves miners acutely at risk of contracting TB and spreading it to their families and communities. Despite the dangers of mine work, widespread poverty in the region means a job in the industry is the only available option for thousands of men.
On September 4th this year, David Cameron re-shuffled his cabinet. He promoted, demoted an sacked ministers from every department, from health to housing. The Department for International Development was no exception.
Over the past 10 years the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has been successful in saving the lives of over six million people. One of the key reasons the Fund has been so successful is that, unlike any other large international donor agency, it has always responded to the real needs of the countries it gives money to, encouraging them to tackle the three diseases as fully as possible.
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has been possibly the most important initiative to improve global health ever undertaken. Never before have so many nations come together for a joint undertaking with such grand ambitions for global health and the Fund has not disappointed.