AIDS. Tuberculosis. Malaria.
In recent decades, these three deadly, infectious diseases have claimed tens of millions of lives and caused communal suffering and torment on almost unparalleled levels.
Now, thanks to the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria in 2002, the world has made great progress in tackling the epidemics of these diseases. New clinics have been formed, and thousands of healthcare workers have been trained to deal with the crisis. As a result, 32 million lives have been spared.
However, after years of progress, new threats are hindering further advancements, and millions of people still remain vulnerable.
This was the foundation of Natalie Portman’s speech in front of tens of thousands of Global Citizens on Saturday, when she called for increased investment to the Global Fund to progress the fight to end AIDS, TB, and malaria once and for all.
At the 2019 Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park, Portman urged the audience to join her in taking action and signing a Global Fund open letter addressed to seven year old children, which calls on the world to step up and promises explicitly to end AIDS, TB, and malaria as epidemics by 2030 — the year that those seven year olds of today will become adults.
"Over the next 11 years, we are going to do everything we can to remove three things from this world,” Portman said. “I signed this letter to step up the fight to end these diseases by 2030 and ensure a healthier future for children around the world today.
"Join me in taking action to end these diseases and help save 16 million more lives over the next three years,” she added.
Executive Director of the Global Fund, Peter Sands, then took to the stage to thank Portman for her support and echo the calls to “turbocharge progress” toward Global Goal 3 for health and wellbeing.
"We can create a healthier world for today’s seven year olds and those to come, but we cannot do this alone,” he told the crowd. “On Oct. 10, world leaders will gather in France to pledge funds towards the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria. We need to raise at least USD $14 billion dollars to accelerate the end of the epidemics, save 16 million lives, and stop 234 million new infections in the next three years.”
"Global Citizens, your voices have already helped secure pledges from Germany and Canada this year,” he continued. “Together, we must call on more leaders to step up the fight.”
In August, thanks in part to the actions of tens of thousands of Global Citizens, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Germany would invest EUR $1 billion (USD $1.09 billion) in the fund. Just days before, Canada likewise pledged CAD $930.4 million (USD $701 million) to the fund — a nearly 16% increase over Canada’s last pledge in 2016.
Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg then took to the podium, to huge applause from the crowd.
"I am happy to sign onto this letter and to announce tonight that Norway will increase its contribution to the Global Fund to $2.2 billion NOK (USD 2.4 million) by 2023,” Solberg stated. “This will help bring an end to the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria in our lifetimes.”
She finished: “Let us continue our fight to safeguard health...for all.”