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Global Health Fund

Volume 537: debated on Wednesday 7 December 2011

3. What recent assessment he has made of the work of the global fund on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries. (85119)

The multilateral aid review assessed the global fund as providing very good value for money, but also concluded that it could do more to maximise its potential and impact in developing countries. We are working closely with it to ensure that that happens.

In view of the current concern about the global fund, will the Secretary of State clarify the UK’s current and future financial commitment to the organisation?

We have made it clear that we are willing, subject to the improvements that we have set out, to spend up to £1 billion by 2015. We are currently spending about £128 million a year on achieving very specific results under the global fund, and I am considering whether additional funding would be warranted. I shall make that decision on the basis of value for money for the British taxpayer.

Many of the 2,000 a day who die of malaria are children. Will the Secretary of State and his Department take a particular interest and show particular determination in tackling childhood mortality, particularly in developing countries? Will he extend that to rotavirus and the other conditions that kill so many children?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is a scandal that 25,000 children will die today, needlessly, of diseases that we have the power to prevent. Tackling child mortality is absolutely at the heart of the policies being pursued by the Government.

My answer is yes. We will be working in the most difficult countries. The aim of the review currently being undertaken under the chairmanship of an excellent British official, Simon Bland of the global fund, is to ensure that over the next four years we save 10 million lives and prevent something like 180 million new AIDS, malaria and TB infections.

Given that more than two thirds of TB and malaria programmes and more than half of all antiretroviral drugs are delivered through the global fund, what does the Secretary of State say about the crisis in the talks on that programme and its cancellation until 2014? What interim measures can be put in place?

It is true that the 11th round has been converted into a new funding approach, but we will sign grants between now and 2013 of something like $10 billion, so long as we can ensure that our priorities of securing lower prices and good value for money, focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable and considering the longer-term sustainability of programmes, are met.

Given that the global fund contributes half of spending on HIV/AIDS, 80% of spending on malaria and 75% of spending on TB, what steps has the Secretary of State taken to ensure that all international donors play their part? Does he see any possibility that the global fund will start distributing resources before 2014?

The hon. Gentleman is exactly right to focus on the importance of getting others to meet the commitments that Britain is meeting. I can tell him that I spend a lot of my time ensuring that that happens. We will disburse something like $10 billion before 2014 and, as I have said, we are looking to secure funding after that date so that these programmes continue and are sustainable.