World losing ground in malaria fight because of lack of Global Fund grants

According to the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, the world has lost ground on efforts to improve tuberculosis and AIDS treatment due to the Global Fund's termination of new grants.

The organization said that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has cancelled plans to distribute $2 billion in grants between 2011 and 2013, which has led to thousands of new patients going without treatment, Associated Press reports.

"New treatments for patients have been put on hold," Bruno Jochum, the director of DWB, said, according to Associated Press. "In some cases, treatment clinics have simply been shut down."

The Global Fund announced last year that it had stopped its plans for round 11 of grants because of a lack of contributions from donor nations during a tough economic climate. In addition, the fund has tightened its control over how the grant money is managed due to previous mismanagement.

Eric Goemaere, the head of DWB's South African branch, said that poor countries are starting to fall behind in their treatment efforts of new patients and preventing more infections.

"We are going back in time in those countries and in a way we are in danger of driving the epidemic underground," Goemaere said, according to Associated Press.

Andrew Hurst, a spokesperson for the fund, said that the organization still hands out $3 billion per year to fight the three diseases.

"As the Global Fund completes a major reorganization so that our investments in 150 countries can save even more lives, we intend to seek more funding from existing and new donors," Hurst said, according to Associated Press.