FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

U.N. seeks $15 billion investment to make progress against pandemics

A $15 billion investment over the next three years could make significant strides toward defeating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, according to a report by the U.N.-backed fund to fight the diseases.

The report, which the U.N. announced on Thursday, warned that if global funding for the pandemics were to flatline, it would triple the $15 billion currently needed to bring the diseases under control. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said the cost of inaction would result in treatment costs as high as $47 billion.

"There are three compelling factors that make this a unique opportunity to fight and defeat these diseases," Mark Dybul, the executive director of the Global Fund, said. "We can make a transformative difference, and if we do not act now, the costs will be staggering."

According to the report, a lack of the required funding would increase HIV infections to 2.6 million people annually, reduce TB treatment for three million people and unnecessarily kill one million TB victims and 196,000 malaria victims.

"We are at the tipping point in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria and the ultimate goal we all share to defeat these three diseases is a very real possibility," Joanne Carter, the executive director of RESULTS Education Fund in the U.S., said. "Besides the humanitarian and moral case for a fully replenished fund, this report makes the undeniable value for money and economic rationale for scale-up, now."

The report found that inadequate funding for malaria would result in 430 million people contracting malaria at a cost of $20 billion in lost gross domestic product.