Ammo against AIDS

The global fund to combat aids, tuberculosis and malaria is finally set to become a reality with disbursements due to begin shortly. A grant of us $378 million will be given to governments of 31 developing countries over two years to fight these deadly diseases. More two-year grants worth us $238 million would follow soon.

Spearheaded by United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, the fund was conceptualised in January 2001 with contributions from rich countries. The goal set at that time was of us $10 billion a year. Although the current tranche of us $378 million falls short of the set goal, some of the grants will go to treatment as well as prevention programmes. The realisation appears to have dawned that treatment is not just a moral obligation but an essential complement to prevention efforts.