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President Ramaphosa rallies support for Global Fund

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Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on progress in the national effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Global Fund remains vital to building strong African health care systems and has encouraged global leaders to show support for the 7th Replenishment of the fund.

The President delivered a pre-recorded message at the preparatory meeting for the 7th Global Fund Replenishment which is expected to be hosted by US President Joe Biden later this year.

The fund has raised at least US$53 billion in the past 20 years for the fight against HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis (TB) in at least 100 countries.

For this year’s replenishment, the Global Fund aims to raise at least US$18 billion.

“Global solidarity needs to be strengthened as we seek to build health systems on the African continent. The Global Fund is a vital part of building the resilience of African health systems, not only so that they can win the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria, but also to secure the health and well-being of all Africans.

“I am therefore calling on global leaders to continue to demonstrate determination, solidarity and foresight, and to enthusiastically support the 7th Replenishment of the Global Fund,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President highlighted that South Africa itself has benefitted from the fund which assisted in “tackling” the three diseases.

“Twenty years ago, the world was in the midst of an AIDS pandemic. As a country, South Africa had a particularly high burden of HIV/AIDS, TB and related co-infections. South Africa has made great strides in tackling TB and HIV since then.

“Access to antiretroviral medicines and other life-saving medicines was prioritised. We extend our sincere appreciation to the Global Fund as a strategic partner for the support provided to our country for the success we have recorded,” President Ramaphosa said.

He warned that although strides have been made to curb infections, the country still has the highest cases of infection of HIV and TB and government will be stepping up its efforts to fight the two diseases.

According to the President, at least eight million people are living with HIV in the country and South Africa accounts for at last 3% of global TB cases.

“While we have made great progress in tackling HIV and TB – focusing on prevention, testing and treatment – we have fallen behind in reaching our 90/90/90 treatment targets. We will be focusing and quickening our pace to meet the 2025 treatment targets,” President Ramaphosa said.

He added that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has proven that governments across the world need to sharpen the ability to respond expeditiously to future pandemics and outbreaks.

“The…pandemic has made governments, policy makers and health practitioners realise that to achieve and sustain universal health coverage we must be prepared to respond quickly in tackling pandemics.

“We need to have readily necessary resources available for testing and treatment, and the ability to quickly distribute appropriate diagnostics, medications and vaccines,” President Ramaphosa said. – SAnews

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