The Covid-19 pandemic had a “devastating” impact on the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in 2020, according to a report released by the Global Fund on Wednesday.
“To mark our 20th anniversary, we hoped to focus this year’s report on the extraordinary stories of courage and resilience that made possible the progress we have made against HIV, TB and malaria over the past two decades,” said Peter Sands, Global Executive Director of the fund.
“But the 2020 figures force a different approach. They confirm what we feared might happen when Covid-19 hit,” he said.
“The impact of Covid-19 on the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria and the communities we support has been devastating. For the first time in the history of the global fund, key programmatic outcomes have receded.”
There were “significant” declines in HIV testing and prevention services, the fund said.
Compared to 2019, the number of people reached with HIV prevention and treatment dropped by 11 percent last year, while HIV testing dropped by 22 percent, slowing down the new treatment in most countries.
However, the number of people receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy for HIV in 2020 increased by 8.8 percent to 21.9 million “despite Covid-19.”
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the fight against tuberculosis around the world had been similarly “catastrophic,” according to the report.
The number of people treated for drug-resistant TB in countries where the Global Fund invests fell by “a staggering” 19 percent, while those treated for drug-resistant TB saw an even larger drop of 37 percent. cent, he said.
The fund estimated that around 4.7 million people were treated for TB in 2020, about a million fewer than in 2019.
Interventions to combat malaria “appear to have been less affected by Covid-19 than the other two diseases,” the report found.
“Thanks to adaptation measures and the diligence and innovation of community health agents, prevention activities remained stable or increased compared to 2019.”
The number of mosquito nets distributed increased by 17 percent to 188 million and indoor residual fumigation covered structures increased by three percent.
However, the Global Fund, which brings together governments, multilateral agencies, bilateral partners, civil society groups, people affected by diseases and the private sector, said that its “swift and determined response to Covid-19 prevented a worse outcome. “.
In 2020, the fund disbursed $ 4.2 billion to continue the fight against HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria and approved an additional $ 980 million in funding to respond to Covid-19.
The Global Fund said that since its inception in 2002, it has saved 44 million lives and the number of deaths caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria decreased by 46 percent in the countries where it invests.