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Funds tighten for fighting AIDS and malaria worldwide

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The gap between funds pledged and eligible programs stands at about $5 billion, he says.

The Global Fund brings together international institutions, developed countries, and major private donors with more than 135 developing countries. It is responsible for one-quarter of global AIDS funding, two-thirds of funding to fight tuberculosis, and three-fourths of all funding for malaria.

The international economic turmoil must not be allowed to sidetrack attention from global health initiatives, especially with many countries in the midst of multiyear programs that are delivering impressive results, say health experts. With a hint of exasperation, some experts note that the world's wealthy are managing to come up with huge sums of money for business bailouts and national stimulus plans.

"We're talking about a few billion dollars and millions of lives," says Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York and a special adviser on development and health to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Arguing that national governments are coming up with trillions of dollars for economic stimulus packages and that Wall Street managed to pay out nearly $20 billion in bonuses for 2008, Mr. Sachs says, “Is the money there? Yes, the money’s there.”

Malaria alone costs Africa $12 billion a year in productivity, says Peter Chernin, president of News Corp. and also chairman of Malaria No More.

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