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World Bank, IMF Must Focus on Global Health Funding and Capacity

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The Infectious Diseases Society of America appreciates the attention that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will give to critical global health issues during their spring meetings and civil society forum. Improving efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious disease threats that include HIV and tuberculosis, while strengthening capacities to detect, monitor and respond to emerging and reemerging infections will be critical to protecting workforces and strengthening developing economies. We welcome the inclusion of a session on the global tuberculosis epidemic during the civil society forum, which will highlight health coverage strategies to accelerate the global TB response. Elimination of tuberculosis is within our grasp, but only with sufficient investment in TB prevention, care and research. In 2016, 10.4 million people fell ill from tuberculosis, while 1.7 million people died of the disease, making tuberculosis the leading infectious disease cause of death globally.

We are deeply concerned that in recent years global health assistance has remained flat, in some cases decreased, and that global HIV funding fell by half a billion dollars in 2017 compared to 2016. This drop comes at a critical time in the global response to the pandemic, when youth populations at high risk of acquiring HIV are expected to double in parts of Africa by 2020. We urge the World Bank to work with countries to develop innovative financing mechanisms to increase and sustain funding to end HIV as a global public health threat.

We applaud the World Bank for conducting research on the impacts of antimicrobial resistance in 2016 that showed infections that don’t respond to treatment will increase poverty and disproportionately affect the poorest countries without an enhanced global response to this threat. If left unaddressed, the growing crisis will lead to 10 million deaths caused by antimicrobial resistance annually and more than $100 trillion in losses to the global economy by 2050. Antimicrobial resistance could cause low-income countries to lose 5 percent of their GDP and drive millions of individuals into poverty. We support efforts led by the World Health Organization to strengthen antimicrobial resistance surveillance and prevention as well as antimicrobial stewardship worldwide, but more resources are needed to ensure the success of these efforts. Growing antimicrobial resistance carries the threat of undoing the progresses made in combating infectious disease globally. We call on the World Bank to continue working with countries and institutions to strengthen global health and increase financing for the global response to antimicrobial resistance.

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