he Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved emergency funding of US$10 million to ensure access and distribution of essential medicines and health services in Pakistan. Floods and landslides in various districts of the country have caused extensive damage to homes and vital infrastructure – including health facilities – resulting in the displacement of millions of people. Displaced and affected populations living in precarious conditions are more vulnerable to infection by communicable diseases such as tuberculosis (TB). Many also remain exposed to standing water, which increases the risk of outbreaks of waterborne and vector-borne diseases, including malaria, diarrhea and dengue fever.
The emergency funding will support the uninterrupted availability of life-saving health commodities and ensure continued access to free malaria and tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment services for communities through mobile units and health camps in the flood-affected districts. The funds will also be used to support indoor residual spraying (IRS), repair and renovate 20 antiretroviral treatment centers in flooded areas, and support epidemiological and entomological surveillance, monitoring and supervision of activities in districts affected by the flood. flooding. This work will complement the current efforts of the Government of Pakistan, the Directorate of Malaria Control, the Indus Hospital and Health Network, the World Health Organization and the World Food Programme.
Just before the floods, the Global Fund had provided an additional $18 million to support the purchase and distribution of 6.2 million long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs). Initially intended for mass campaigns, these mosquito nets will be distributed immediately to the affected population in camps and other places. The funding will support the purchase of additional LLINs and IRS to prevent outbreaks of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.
The emergency funding and the additional $18 million come on top of the nearly $335 million provided to Pakistan for 2021-2023 to support strategic interventions aimed at continuing the country’s progress against malaria, bending the curve of HIV infection and tuberculosis and to fight against the covid19 pandemic.
“The country’s needs are urgent and serious,” said Mark Edington, Global Fund Grant Management Officer. “Unless immediate action is taken to respond to the flood emergency, the progress Pakistan has made against malaria, HIV and TB over the past few years risks being reversed. The emergency funding we are releasing today is a preliminary response. We are now looking at how we can provide significant additional funding to support the people of Pakistan over the coming weeks. »
The Global Fund has a long-standing partnership with Pakistan. Over the past 20 years, we have invested more than US$1 billion in the country to fight the three diseases, strengthen health systems and provide support in the fight against COVID-19. The reductions in malaria deaths and new cases have been significant – in 2020 both were around 75% lower than in 2011. By August 2022, nearly 100% of people with suspected malaria were receiving a diagnosis, compared to 53% ten years ago. .
The Global Fund’s Emergency Fund is designed to support countries when disasters, conflicts or other emergencies impact the provision of treatment and prevention for HIV, TB or malaria or other health services.