The Union welcomes appointment of new Global Fund ED as heralding new chapter in the fight against TB

A statement from José Luis Castro, Executive Director, The Union. 

Today the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) named Peter Sands as the successor to Mark Dybul as its Executive Director.

The Union offers its warmest congratulations to Peter Sands and commends the Global Fund on an appointment that looks set to combine visionary leadership with the necessary practical skills for driving forward efforts to eliminate some of the world’s most infectious and deadly diseases.

Peter Sands brings a unique combination of public health experience, from the Harvard Global Health Institute and the National Academy of Medicine Commission, and financial acumen. He has been CEO of Standard Chartered PLC and chaired the World Bank’s International Working Group on Financing Pandemic Preparedness. He is the perfect appointment to address public health priorities and address critical funding gaps.

The new Executive Director assumes leadership of the Global Fund at a particularly critical time for TB. It follows the publication of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global TB Report 2017 (PDF 8.2 MB), which delivered a stark message to the TB community, namely that progress toward the elimination of TB is stagnating.

The report also highlighted the very real funding gap that impedes global efforts to end TB. The WHO estimates that, in 2017, TB care and prevention has seen a shortfall of US$ 2.3 billion. Annually, research and development needs an additional US$ 1.2 billion for the development of new tools and drugs.

The imperative is on us all to attract viable, sustainable and adequate investment - not ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ handouts. We must also encourage investment from non-traditional development funders, as well as ways to incentivise individual countries to invest in fighting TB as part of their overall domestic budgets too. I use the word ‘investment’ deliberately. For every single dollar spent on TB, the return on that dollar in more efficient healthcare, effective drugs, and new tools is US$ 43.

At the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Guadalajara last month, I was delighted to share a platform with Dr Christoph Benn, Director of External Relations at The Global Fund, as we announced a new partnership between The Union and the Global Fund to spur private sector investment for ending the TB epidemic by 2030. Without investment, we can’t accelerate progress. We will not make that deadline and TB will continue to decimate lives needlessly. The support and expertise from The Global Fund will be a critical element in turning this situation around - and we looking forward to working closely with Peter Sands to herald a new chapter in TB funding and make the end TB goal a reality.

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