United States’ Senate approves Appropriations bill and 15.6% increase for Global Fund
On September 18, the United States Senate Appropriations Committee posted its bill relating to funding for “state, foreign operations, and related programs” for fiscal year 2020. The bill proposes $1.56 billion in fiscal year 2020, which is a 15.6% increase from the previous year, and affirms the U.S.’s three-year funding commitment.
The bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate. If the bill is enacted, which is generally expected to happen, this will be the first U.S. funding increase to the Global Fund in six years, Friends of the Global Fight said. According to a report accompanying the bill, the Senate Committee anticipates maintaining this level of funding in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 as well, in other words an amount of $4.68 billion over the three-year Sixth Replenishment cycle.
The US’s pledge is not yet final, though, and cannot be specified before the United States makes its announcement in Lyon at the Pledging Conference, in part because of the U.S.’s current commitment to match other donor contributions at a rate of $1 to every $2 received from other donors.
United Nations’ Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage
The World Health Organization, the Global Fund, and many other organizations have welcomed the “landmark declaration on universal health coverage” made at the United Nations in New York on September 23, made at the High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The declaration, called “Political Declaration: Universal health coverage: moving together to build a healthier world,” commits countries to move towards full coverage for their citizens in four major areas around primary care – language that verges on the non-committal but expresses a laudable and long-awaited intention that countries should all provide affordable, accessible and inclusive health care.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called UHC “the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health – a vision for Universal Health Coverage by 2030.”
Guterres also emphasized that the Political Declaration “states the need to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and reproductive rights,” and made the point that accelerating progress towards the UHC goal would require an urgent change to “the financing paradigm,” in other words, that domestic financing for health-care must increase.
Some activists were perturbed, however, that the agenda for the actual High-level Meeting itself did not feature any speakers from communities or affected populations. A letter from members of groups of people living with HIV and TB circulated among various googlegroups, with subject line “HLM UHC Call to Action”, said this was “unacceptable” given the commitments that have been made by the UN and government leaders to ‘leave no one behind’.
Read WHO’s press release…
12 Multi-lateral agencies launch ‘Stronger Collaboration, Better Health’ plan to support global health goals
The day after the HLM on UHC, on September 24, the Global Fund, along with 11 other signatory agencies who together contribute nearly a third of all development assistance for health, launched the ‘Stronger Collaboration, Better Health’ plan, to better support countries in the ten years to 2030 (the target year of the global goals) to accelerate their progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
‘Stronger Collaboration, Better Health: Global Action Plan for Health Lives and Well-being for All’ is intended to show how the 12 agencies will collaborate to provide better (more efficient, more streamlined) support to countries working on delivering UHC and trying to reach the SDG targets.
The other signatory agencies are: Gavi, the Global Financing Facility, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNITAID, UN Women, World Bank Group, World Food Program and WHO.
Remaining Global Fund and Replenishment-related activity at the UN’s 74th General Assembly
The United Nations General Assembly, currently underway in New York (from September 17 to 30), has hosted the first-ever High-level Meeting on Universal Health Care (UHC) – see separate article in the last GFO – intended to encourage global commitments to ensuring health for all. The UNGA is an important high-level moment for the Global Fund, just three weeks before the Sixth Replenishment. Of several events, sessions and side-sessions involving Global Fund participation, many in partnership with other organizations, two remain:
- ‘Data for Health Equity: Unlocking Health for All’, from 18h00, Global Fund speaker is Peter Sands
- Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, from 14h00
For more description read the Global Fund’s full news release…