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Global Fund Forty-Seventh Board Meeting: Remarks by Charge d’Affaires Heather Merritt

From right to left: Charge d'Affaires Heather Merritt, Mr. Linden Morrison – Head of High Impact Africa: Global Fund and Arnaux Roux – Deputy Head of Mission at the French Embassy”

May 13, 2022

[As prepared]

Thank you for the introduction.
Minister of Health Phaahla, DG Buthelezi, and members of the NDoH;
CEO, and members of SANAC;
Global Fund Chair & leadership team;
Members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism; fellow advocates, diplomatic colleagues, and friends.
All protocols observed.

Good afternoon.

Thank you to the representatives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of Senegal, and the Republic of South Africa, for hosting the replenishment conference and kicking off this campaign. Thank you to representatives who have been and continue to be strong allies and donors of the Global Fund.

Over the course of two decades, in a continued demonstration of global unity and fierce leadership, the Global Fund has made invaluable contributions to the ongoing global fight against HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.

  • Almost twenty-two million people are on antiretroviral therapy for HIV.
  • Almost five million people have been treated for tuberculosis.
  • More than one-hundred eighty million mosquito nets have been distributed.
  • And forty-four million lives globally have been saved.

Thanks to the relentless efforts continuously exemplified by Global Fund partners like South Africa, these ambitions have become reality – and have set the stage for the future.

Together we can achieve the goals of our ‘Fight for What Counts’ replenishment campaign, but only through the collaboration and contributions of the individuals in this room and our partnerships around the world.

As you know, the United States coordinates our efforts with other development partners and specifically South Africa through our three bilateral programs: The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) tuberculosis programs.

Thankfully, these programs have also provided avenues to fight the COVID-19. And nations around the world, have followed South Africa’s example, also stepping up in response to the pandemic.  Still, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact – it has compromised patient care, disrupted supply chains, and overwhelmed local health systems. The virus showed the world that while we fight existing pandemics, we must remain proactive and prepare for future health threats at the same time. That is why today in the United States, President Biden is hosting the Global COVID summit, where leaders including President Ramaphosa, are collaborating to bring solutions to vaccinate the world, save lives now, and build better health security.

So as we continue our work to end the pandemic globally, we must make commitments to preserve gains and reverse losses resulting from COVID-19. The Global Fund is calling on governments for a financial contribution of up to $18 billion for countries to reverse the health losses experienced over the last two years, get back on track toward the ongoing fight against these three pandemics, and focus our philanthropic motions to building stronger, more resilient health systems for the future.

The United States, as a founding member and the largest single donor to the Global Fund, has contributed over $23 billion since 2002.  This year, President Biden has already requested the U.S. Congress to contribute an additional $2 billion to the Seventh Replenishment, out of an intended pledge of $6 billion over the next three years.

We are here today to formally acknowledge a Global Fund grant of $546 million to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in South Africa.  We are also here today to amplify our financial contributions and to meet the ambition of the Seventh Replenishment investment case goal in defeating these pandemics by 2030. We call on all partners to similarly consider increasing their donations this replenishment as we face unprecedented challenges in ensuring that other health priorities remain front and center.

Protecting us all from pandemics truly takes a global effort and I, on behalf of the United States government and people, would like to Thank YOU, the Global Fund committee, donor, and partners, for your commitment to this life-saving work.

President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and the United States are looking forward to hosting the Seventh Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund later this year.  We look forward to realizing our goal of reaching a historic target to meet the pressing need before us.

Thank you for your continued support.