LONDON, Jan. 11 (Good Medical) – At least $ 14 billion is needed to speed up the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as to fight the stubborn epidemics that continue to kill millions of people, according to reports on Friday. at the head of a global fund for health.

PHOTO FILE: A nurse holds a drink containing a cocktail of HIV / AIDS medications for a patient at the Mercy Center in Bangkok on February 8, 2007. Good Medical / Adrees Latif

Peter Sands, director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, announced a fundraising goal for the next three-year cycle. This money could save 16 million lives and halve the number of deaths from these three diseases.

It would also be used to build stronger health systems in poor countries, poorly equipped to cope with existing epidemics and unable to cope with new potential epidemics.

"New threats mean that there is no middle ground," Sands said in a statement. "We must … protect and consolidate the gains we have made, otherwise we will see these achievements erode, infections and deaths resurface and the prospect of ending the epidemics will disappear."

The Global Fund is a group of governments, civil society partners and the private sector that invest about $ 4 billion a year in the fight against infectious diseases. Launched in 2002, it has since reduced the number of people killed by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by about one-third.

However, the epidemics are still far from being beaten.

In 2017, TB killed 1.6 million people, 300,000 of them HIV-positive, making it one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the world. Malaria kills nearly half a million people every year, mostly babies or young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

During the AIDS pandemic, nearly 37 million people around the world are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and about 15 million of them do not receive the necessary antiretroviral drugs.

Sands acknowledged in a telephone interview how difficult it would be to encourage international donors to commit funds to achieve such a high goal. But he added that with the scope of the fund and its ability to spark commitment and investment from governments in countries affected by the epidemic, he was confident it would have an impact. major.

"If we intensify the fight now, we will save millions more lives," he said.

Kate Kelland report; Edited by Andrew Cawthorne