Civil Society Groups Highlight Risks of Global Fund Withdrawal, Fear Resurgence of Disease

Ahead of the 34th meeting of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, civil society groups have called on the organization to develop a sustainability and transition strategy for countries likely to be most impacted by its funding withdrawal.

Thirty-three groups have co-signed an open letter (read in full, below) to the Fund's Board who meet November 16-17, highlighting that a number of middle and upper-middle income countries (MICs and UMICs) are likely to be severely hit when the Fund pulls out. According to the groups:

"[These countries] are not ready for successful and sustainable transition from Global Fund support to domestic funding and we believe that they will be not ready for at least two more allocation periods. Most of these countries have HIV and MDR-TB epidemics that are concentrated among highly stigmatized key populations that will not have access to services and life-saving medicines without Global Fund support. A rushed and irresponsible transition will lead to closure of essential services (especially those provided by civil society organizations) and resurgence of disease."

In light of this, the groups strongly urge the Fund to develop a Sustainability and Transition Strategy to mitigate the risks of funding withdrawal. 

The letter comes on year after 24 civil society organizations expressed their concern to the Fund's Board over the New Funding Model (NFM) approved by the Global Fund, noting that it will result in a worrying scale-down of harm reduction services in MICs located in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.