September 20, 2010
MSF Teleconference on Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Global Health
September 20, 2010
Sandra Murillo: Good morning everyone and welcome to the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) press teleconference on the need for innovative financing for global health. Thank you for joining us. Our press teleconference speakers today are Sophie Delaunay, Executive Director of MSF in the US; Severine Ramon, Program Manager for MSF's Nutrition Program in Niger; and Ann Akkeson, Medical Coordinator of MSF's Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Program in Malawi. Ms. Delaunay will discuss the crucial need for innovative financing mechanisms for global health, including a financial transaction tax. Ms. Ramon and Dr. Akkeson will talk about their field experience and the need for sustainable, predictable funding to ensure that the latest medical advances reach as many as possible.
Sophie Delaunay, Executive Director, MSF-USA: Thank you, Sandra, and thank you all for joining this call. So, as we all know, for the next several days, global leaders will be assessing progress on the millennium development goals, or MDGs. The World Health Organization, the WHO, reports that an additional $37 billion needs to be spent every year until 2015 in order to meet the health-related MDGs in malnutrition, child mortality, maternal health and the world's biggest infectious disease killers that are HIV, TB and malaria. But in many cases, global donors and government are either freezing or decreasing their funding for global health priorities.
Ann Akkeson, MSF Medical Coordinator, Cholo District, Malawi: That is fine for me.
Sandra Murillo: So can you just let the people on the call know?
Ann Akkeson: Good morning everyone, from Malawi. I'm Ann Akkeson. I'm the Medical Coordinator for MSF in Cholo District, Malawi, where we, together with the Ministry of Health, run an HIV program including prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Today in this program, there are approximately 2,700 pregnant women started yearly on antiretroviral drugs to protect their health and to prevent their babies from becoming infected. But most HIV-positive women in Malawi don't have access to preventive treatment and few infants are tested and treated. Without preventive treatment, 35 percent of all HIV-positive women will transmit the virus to their children. And an untreated infant is at extremely high risk of death. Half of babies with HIV will die by age two if not treated.
Severine Ramon: I am back, I am back…
Emi MacLean: Would you like to continue, Severine?
Severine Ramon: Yes…. So let’s talk about malnutrition generally. Malnutrition contributes to the death of between 3.5 and 5 million children under 5 years old every year. Worldwide, 146 million children are underweight and at any given moment, 20 million children are suffering from the most deadly form of sever acute malnutrition. But [unintelligible] experience has shown that malnutrition is not the hopeless and intractable global health issue.
Sophie Delaunay: Thank you Sandra. Just to conclude I would just like to highlight the fact that these two examples are of course just a few aspects of the broader fight to both sustain and improve the global response to HIV/AIDS and malnutrition where still far too many people in the developing world are on sub-optimal medicines and starting treatment too late. Clearly a pool of reliable funding such as what would be generated through a financial transaction tax for global health could help ensure that appropriate treatment scale-up continues and that the standard treatment protocols are applied. It could help eliminate some of the inequities in treatment quality that persist between patients in the US and Europe and patients in Africa both in malnutrition and in HIV.
Technician: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to ask a question at this time, please press the star then one key on your touchtone telephone. If your question has been answered or you wish to remove yourself from the queue, please press the pound key. Again, if you would like to ask a question, please press the star and then the one key. One moment please. We do have a question from Mark Bastion of ASP.
Mark Bastion: I would like to check a few figures that were given at the beginning of the conference because the sound of my phone was horrible. How much money do you need in 2015?
Sophie Delaunay: First, I want to make clear that it is not the money that MSF needs. We are talking about reliable funding for global health generally in the years to come. We gave two examples actually of major organizations that were funding global health needs that are the Global Health Fund and GASI, and I didn’t announce figures for the Global Fund because actually it seems that position of the needs for the Global Fund will be $20 billion for the years to come, but we don’t have any clarity yet as to, about the commitments for the countries, so it is difficult to know what the gap will be for the Global Fund. The need that I announced was a general need reported by the World Health Organization of an additional $37 billion needs to be spent every year until 2015 in order to meet the health related MDG’s. Does that answer your question?
Mark Bastion: Yes, perfectly.
Sandra Murillo: If there are no more questions, we will close the call. For more information, you can go to doctorswithoutborders.org.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)