On 15 October 2020, Members of the APPGs on HIV/AIDS, Global Tuberculosis, and Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases were joined by Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
During the session, Mr Sands updated members about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global HIV, TB and Malaria programmes. He spoke about the Global Fund’s rapid response to the pandemic, and its ongoing efforts both to mitigate the secondary impacts of the pandemic and leveraging its investments and infrastructure alongside the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) to enable low- and middle-income countries to tackle COVID-19 directly.
Mr Sands highlighted that the morbidity and mortality caused by the secondary impacts of the pandemic may well be higher than that of COVID-19 itself, highlighting the urgent need to strengthen basic healthcare provision while responding to the pandemic. TB programmes have been particularly affected and are struggling to recover, with significant portions of TB programming infrastructure and healthcare workforces diverted to COVID-19 and the effects of stigma and fear having a major impact on healthcare seeking behaviour.
Mr Sands presented the Global Fund’s COVID-19 response plan, which is accessible here. The Global Fund is seeking to raise an additional US $5 billion to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV, TB and malaria programmes, strengthen health systems and deliver core components of the ACT-A. Existing resources are set to run out in the coming weeks.
The roundtable also served as an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), with the APPG on Global TB formally electing the Rt Hon. the Lord Herbert of South Downs CBE as Co-Chair of the Group. Lord Herbert served as the APPG Co-Chair until December 2019, when he stood down as Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs. He became a Member of the House of Lords in September 2020.