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Staying the Course In the Fight Against AIDS

November 30, 2012

I just returned from the energetic 28th board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It marked the start of an exciting new chapter in the organization’s extraordinary history of saving lives. As we approach World AIDS Day tomorrow, we have a chance to reflect on the Global Fund’s achievements and train our eyes what was once an unimaginable goal: an AIDS-free generation.

As we approach this milestone, the Global Fund is entering a critical period in its 10-year history. The organization has already financed programs in more than 150 countries that provide prevention, treatment and care services that save about 100,000 lives per month. And it is nearing completion of an unprecedented set of reforms dedicated to more efficient grant management, strategic investment and enhanced lifesaving impact.

In light of these improvements, the meeting charted the path forward. In addition to approving a new funding model to ensure resources are quickly disbursed to where they are most needed, the Global Fund Board selected a new Executive Director, former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul.

A physician with a specialty in infectious diseases, Dr. Dybul is currently the co-director of Georgetown University's Global Health Law Center. Dr. Dybul is hailed for his leadership in designing and implementing the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has saved millions of lives around the world, often hand-in-hand with the Global Fund. Together, the Global Fund and PEPFAR account for more than 90% of HIV/AIDS funding in the world’s highest-burden and lowest-resourced countries. Dr. Dybul’s knowledge and experience make him an exciting choice to lead the Global Fund into its next decade.

We must remember that behind the Global Fund’s impressive performance results are people who now have a chance at a brighter future thanks to the work that the Global Fund has supported. They are mothers and fathers. They are brothers and sisters. They are students, workers and future leaders. And there are many more out there who still need treatment and care.

As we recognize another World AIDS Day, we know how much the world has accomplished in the fight against HIV/AIDS — but we also know how much work still lies ahead. Capitalizing on its track record of success and its recent improvements, the Global Fund is well positioned to lead this charge alongside PEPFAR. Sustained focus and investment in global health will move us toward a future in which no one dies from AIDS-related illness and no baby is born with HIV. That's a future of hope. That's a future worth fighting for.

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