UK pledges nearly £500m per year to fight Aids, malaria and TB around the world

Theresa May urges world leaders at the G20 summit to follow UK’s lead in pledging cash to end deadly diseases

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor, in Osaka, Japan
Friday 28 June 2019 23:01 BST
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Theresa May arrives with her husband Philip May in Osaka, where she is expected to hold bilateral talks with Vladimir Putin
Theresa May arrives with her husband Philip May in Osaka, where she is expected to hold bilateral talks with Vladimir Putin

Britain is pledging almost half a billion pounds a year to fight Aids, malaria and tuberculosis around the world.

Announcing the funding at the G20 summit in Japan on Saturday, Theresa May will call on leaders of the world’s largest economies to step up their own efforts to tackle the deadly diseases.

The UK’s three-year pledge will see around £467m a year given to the Global Fund, which provides medication for over 3 million people living with HIV, as well as treatment and care for 2 million people with tuberculosis, and 90 million mosquito nets to prevent malaria.

The prime minister is to tell G20 leaders: “We need urgent international action and a truly collective response if we are to tackle threats to global health security, prevent infections spreading across borders, and halt the continued spread of deadly diseases.

She will ask them to “follow the UK’s lead in supporting the vital work of the Global Fund and its relentless efforts to tackle Aids, malaria and tuberculosis around the world”.

Ms May will say: “Not only do these diseases cause untold suffering to those who fall ill, they hold back whole countries’ development.

“I am deeply proud of the leading role the UK plays in international development and the life-saving impact of our aid spending.

“The pledge we are making today will save millions of lives and help to build a healthier and more prosperous world – and that is firmly in our national interest.”

The Global Fund says it needs to raise another £11bn at a conference in Lyon, France, in October, if it is to keep its work on track.

In 2016, Britain pledged to contribute £1.1bn over three years to the Global Fund to fight Aids, malaria and TB.

Since 2002, the fund is believed to have helped save more than 27 million lives in over 100 countries and to have reduced the number of deaths from the three diseases by more than a third.

But Aids, malaria and tuberculosis continue to claim around 2.5 million lives a year, with a child dying from malaria every two minutes.

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said the UK’s pledge was “a positive step forward in the global fight against these diseases, and will help to save millions of lives”.

Sir Elton John discussed the fight against Aids with French president Emmanuel Macron as he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur last week

And singer Sir Elton John, founder of the Elton John Aids Foundation, said: “Last week in Paris, President Macron and I called on the world to support replenishment of the Global Fund for Aids, TB and malaria. It is with profound respect that I thank the UK government for today’s historic pledge to help do just that.

“This sets an extraordinary example for others to follow.”

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