Climate change affects the fight against AIDS and other diseases – 09/18/2023 – Balance and Health

Climate change affects the fight against AIDS and other diseases – 09/18/2023 – Balance and Health

Climate change and military conflict are affecting efforts to combat three of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, the head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has warned.

International initiatives to combat diseases have largely recovered after being seriously affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the fund’s results report for 2023, released this Monday (18).

But the growing challenges of climate change and conflict mean the world is unlikely to reach the goal of ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030 without “extraordinary measures”, said Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund.

For example, malaria is spreading to mountainous regions of Africa that were previously too cold for the mosquito that carries the parasite that causes the disease.

Extreme weather events such as flooding are still overwhelming health services, displacing communities, causing infection outbreaks and disrupting treatment in many different places, according to the report.

In countries like Sudan, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Myanmar, simply reaching vulnerable communities has also been a major challenge due to insecurity, he added.

However, there are positive points. In 2022, for example, 6.7 million people were treated for tuberculosis in countries where the Global Fund invests, 1.4 million more people than in the previous year. The fund also helped provide HIV antiretroviral therapy to 24.5 million people and distributed 220 million mosquito nets.

Sands added that innovative prevention and diagnostic tools have also brought hope.

The Global Fund has faced criticism from some tuberculosis experts for not allocating more of its budget to the disease, as it is the biggest killer of the three diseases the fund focuses on.

“There is no doubt that the world needs to dedicate more resources to fighting tuberculosis, but it is not as simple as comparing the annual deaths from each disease,” Sands said. He said many countries with the highest tuberculosis burden are middle-income countries that have more capacity to finance health services domestically.

Source link