TORONTO, Sept. 17, 2016 /CNW/ - Plan International Canada congratulates fellow partners in the Global Fund for today's historic announcement of raising global commitments of $13 billion to maintain momentum in the effort to end malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. At the same time, Plan is calling for an unwavering focus on the adolescent girls who are disproportionately affected by these epidemics simply because they are young and female.
The announcement comes on the final day of the 5th Global Fund Replenishment Conference in Montreal, where global leaders, dignitaries, civil society organizations, private sector companies and individual Canadians gathered to double down in the fight to end these diseases for good. Canada's recent decision to increase its pledge to the Global Fund by 20%, reaching $785 million over the next three years, played an important role in reaching the ambitious goal announced today. As Canada's largest implementing partner of Global Fund grants, Plan is dedicated to taking action on these three diseases.
"Programs to defeat these diseases are working, but the progress we have seen should only make us more impatient to end the AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis epidemics," said Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO of Plan International Canada. "We must prioritize vulnerable groups like women and girls. We must not forget the real disease: harmful gender norms that lead to the denial of the basic right to health for women and girls."
Studies and research make clear that adolescent girls and women bear the brunt of these diseases. Tuberculosis kills more women globally than any other single infectious disease. Adolescent girls are at greater risk of contracting HIV/AIDS when unable to negotiate safe sex, especially in situations of child marriage and sexual violence. According to UNAIDS, infection rates in girls and young women (15-24) are twice as high as in boys and young men, and account for 22% of all new HIV infections.
Plan has partnered with the Global Fund since 2004 to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics in West Africa, Southern Africa, Asia and the Americas.
With support from the Global Fund, Plan has:
- Educated over 30 million people about malaria prevention
- Provided over 40,000 members of vulnerable communities with testing, prevention and support services
- Referred 25,000 suspected tuberculosis cases
- Distributed over 36 million lifesaving bed nets, protecting over 55 million people from malaria
Still there is more work to be done.
Funding will be critical in relegating these epidemics to history, but changes in approach are also essential to making a lasting change. The next challenge is to focus on human rights barriers that block access to treatment and prevention for marginalized populations, especially girls and women.
"The world has an historic opportunity to make this trio of epidemics a thing of the past, by embracing a gender transformative approach that is based on human rights for all," declared Riseboro.
ABOUT PLAN AND THE BECAUSE I AM A GIRL INITIATIVE
Founded in 1937, Plan International Canada is one of the world's oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan International strives for a just world that advances children's rights and equality for girls. Because I am a Girl is Plan's global movement to transform power relations so that girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive.
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SOURCE Plan Canada
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