This month leaders from around the world gathered in New York City for the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Though climate change and instability in the Middle East dominated the agenda, the assembly also found time to focus on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – global targets for 2015 that range from halving extreme poverty rates to eliminating gender disparity.
Though daunting, the goals are progressing – including the sixth MDG, focused on combatting HIV/AIDs, malaria, and other diseases. The global community can be proud that:
- New HIV infections continue to decline in most regions.
- The number of new HIV infections per 100 adults (aged 15 to 49) declined 44 percent between 2001 and 2012.
- Over 900,000 pregnant women living with HIV globally were receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis or treatment by December 2012.
- Between 2000 and 2012, the substantial expansion of malaria interventions led to a 42 percent decline in malaria mortality rates globally.
- In the decade since 2000, 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted, and the lives of three million young children were saved.
The Global Fund, an international financing organization started in 2002 to fight AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, has played a tremendous role in this progress. The Global Fund invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 140 countries; you’ve probably heard of (RED), which generates private sector funding for the organization.
The Global Fund has helped turn a corner towards the elimination of these diseases as public health threats, primarily by mobilizing the global community to invest so much capital. But they need more than money to maintain that momentum. Innovative solutions are also necessary to maximize their operations.
It’s time to help the Global Fund simplify. Private sector organizations have the skills and resources to organize financials, logistics, and education so the Global Fund can more efficiently fight diseases. For example, SAP – working closely together with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and USAID’s Grant Management Solutions project – has provided grant management dashboards for greater visibility into some complicated performance indicators.
This simplification is truly making a difference. The fight against persistent and deadly diseases like AIDS and malaria is one of the most complicated issues of our time, facing important challenges due to the magnitude of the support network that distributes funds, medicine, and supplies across dispersed geographies. Innovative software solutions that help multinationals streamline operations can also help programs supported by the Global Fund in the supply and distribution of life-saving medicine.
As a founding member of the Global Fund’s Innovation Coalition, SAP is also leveraging support among private sector peers in industries like transportation and insurance. In Berlin, just days after the UN General Assembly, the Global Fund gathered business leaders, NGOs, and government officials to lay out their vision of closer collaboration with the private sector to engage their expertise– not just their wallets.