Each month, the Global Fund saves and transforms a staggering 100,000 lives — mothers and fathers, babies and grandparents, farmers and factory workers. With strong U.S. support, the Global Fund finances programs that provide AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria treatment and prevention for people in 150 countries. Every day, more children are born healthy and more adults can lead longer, more productive lives thanks to the Global Fund.
After ten years of delivering services to those most in need, last year the Global Fund initiated an organizational overhaul, with U.S. and other donor encouragement, to enhance its work. The Global Fund has now undertaken what is arguably the most dramatic and rapid transformation of any multilateral organization in history. Dr. Dybul joins the organization as it completes this year of improvements, evolving from an emergency response mechanism to a more sustainable funder of health.
Specifically, Global Fund management is focusing greater attention on the people it serves. A staff restructuring increased the personnel and attention dedicated to the Global Fund’s core work — grant management — especially in its 20 highest-impact countries. This is already translating into success on the ground. In Zambia, for example, the Global Fund doubled the size of its grants staff and strengthened its country team, including procurement, finance, monitoring and evaluation, and legal experts. Last month, the Global Fund negotiated and signed a $102 million grant agreement in a matter of weeks—a process that often used to last months.
Central to the reform process has been a continued commitment to best-in-class oversight and transparency. A new Chief Risk Officer is helping assess grants and better direct resources, and the Global Fund’s independent Audit and Ethics Committee is strengthening the Office of the Inspector General, increasing both its budget and personnel by more than a third. The Board will soon begin a rigorous selection process to appoint a new independent Inspector General to lead the team.
Additionally, the Global Fund Board just approved a revamped funding model for its future grants. The model simplifies the application process and better targets resources to those most in need. As Dr. Dybul and the Global Fund move toward implementation of this new funding model, resources will flow more efficiently to support lifesaving programs.
With these changes under its belt, the Global Fund is prepared to save many more lives in the years ahead, and Dr. Dybul is well positioned to capitalize on the work of the past year and build on the Global Fund’s legacy.
Thanks in no small part to the Global Fund—as well as bilateral programs like PEPFAR — the world is reaching a turning point on these three diseases. Ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV is not a pipe dream. A world with no more deaths from malaria is possible. The fight against tuberculosis is advancing. Each step toward these landmarks leads to more parents being able to care for their families, more children healthy enough to go to school, and more communities ready to tackle local challenges.
Under Dr. Dybul's leadership the Global Fund will take even greater strides in the fight against disease — and the fight for a healthier future for everyone.
Derrick, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is a global health thought leader with nearly two decades of policy and international development experience.