I am just coming to after my experience at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. After a few days of telling the story of the Global Fund, I feel like we helped put global health in the agenda.
However, it’s clear that there is still a lot of work to be done. The global health goals that were set for 2015 as part of the MDGs are not just an ideal, they are real needs that must be met or millions of lives will be lost from preventable and curable diseases.
The good news is we can achieve these goals. It won’t be easy, but it’s certainly more than worth the effort. And this is why we were in Davos this past week. The Annual Meeting is all about putting heads together from different sectors to address an issue. Eleven years ago, the Global Fund itself was born as a result of one of those conversations, and now we were back to put the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria on the top of everyone’s agenda.
We kick-started the week with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe and Charlize Theron (founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project) honouring us by addressing a room full of journalists on the effectiveness of the Global Fund and sharing their inspiring stories as those benefited from our funding. When you hear from those on the frontlines, you truly realize the urgency of the matter and the need for a “big push” to make it to the finish line.
Continuing with our mission to get the message out there, we hosted a reception where key decision-makers from the private sector, governments, non-profits and the media got together to discuss what else could be done to improve global health. It was during this gathering where we introduced our new Executive Director, Mark Dybul, who addressed the audience.
Then came good news. Dirk Niebel, Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development announced a €1 billion commitment to the Global Fund. This is incredible news, not just because of the remarkable things that can be done with that amount, but because it shows a renewed confidence in the organization and it speaks about the effectiveness of our work.
All throughout the Annual Meeting, participants showed their support for the “big push” to defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We installed a photo booth in several locations where people could come and have their portrait taken with one of many messages in support of global health. The response was great; we had over 300 people come to have their portraits taken, including Prime Minister David Cameron, Morgan Tsvangirai and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
It was just one week, but that is the true value of the Annual Meeting – in a few days, with a few moments, you can have a great impact and get things done. By targeting the decision-makers gathered in Davos we aimed to grab their attention towards reachable global health goals, and thus accelerating the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Author: Claudia Gonzalez is Head of Marketing at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Image: A red ribbon sand sculpture is pictured in India REUTERS/Stringer India