NEW YORK - The Global Fund says it fell nearly $4 billion short of its funding target, despite getting a “record level” of support from its partners during its Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York on Wednesday (21 September).

The over US$14.25 billion raised at the conference was 30 per cent higher than the total from the Sixth Replenishment Conference, but fell short of the US$18 billion target identified to save 20 million lives between 2023 and 2035.

The funding is intended to reduce deaths from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by almost two-thirds, as well as boost pandemic preparedness of health and community systems.

The US earlier this year committed US$6 billion and remains the highest pledge to date. Other countries that committed funding were Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Malawi, Morocco, Paraguay, and Tanzania.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS, said she was “truly humbled” to see many developing countries, “themselves facing multiple crises” increasing their contributions from previous years.

The European Commission promised €715 million ($706 million), while organisations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also made pledges.

However, the UK and Italy have yet to state how much they will be offering.

A number of non-profit organisations voiced their concern at the shortfall.

Corine Karema, interim CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said: “We are concerned that the total pledged today has not yet reached the target the Global Fund needs to contribute to get the malaria fight back on track.

“This funding is vital – not just to provide life-saving programmes for malaria, but to build health system resilience more generally and help protect us all from future pandemics.

“We call on those governments, philanthropists, the private sector and endemic countries who haven’t yet pledged to step up and make a commitment.”

The conference, which was hosted by US President Joe Biden on behalf of the United States government, was attended by 18 heads of state and government, as well as multilateral partners and representatives from the private sector, civil society and community organisations.

In his message during the event, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted how the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria had already slowed before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has further set back progress.

“Investments in HIV, TB and malaria will deliver returns far beyond these three diseases, in stronger health systems, more inclusive societies, and more productive economies,” Ghebreyesus said.