Joe Cerrell, Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
I was looking back recently at the news coverage from when the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria was established, in 2002. The World Economic Forum will mark the Fund’s 10-year anniversary at this year’s annual meeting in Davos. In the spring of 2002, while there was a great deal of support for creating a new fund to tackle these three deadly killers, there also was a good measure of caution – even skepticism – given the organization’s ambitious goals. Just after Kofi Annan called for the creation of the Fund in 2001, the Economist editorialized its support but cautioned “it should not be devoured by a voracious UN bureaucracy.
"The Wall Street Journal’s Mark Schoofs wrote that “the organizers of the Global Fund know they must hold themselves to the highest medical and financial standards or face the risk that the almost $2 billion pledged world-wide so far won’t be replenished, let alone increased.” In the same article, former U.S. Senator (and physician) Bill Frist agreed: “There’s a lot riding on this,” he said. So it’s worth stepping back on this momentous occasion to reflect not just on what has been accomplished – there will be lots of people citing the Fund’s impressive statistics this week.