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Expert Says World Can End Three Deadly Diseases, Including AIDS

Mark Dybul

"We now have the opportunity, if we stick to it and remain committed, to end these three diseases, these three plagues as epidemics,” said Mark Dybul (C’85, M’92), during a keynote address on the future of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

December 4, 2013 –The executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria told an audience at his alma mater today that the world has a realistic chance of eliminating the three deadly diseases.

“We now have the opportunity, if we stick to it and remain committed, to end these three diseases, these three plagues as epidemics,” said alumnus Mark Dybul (C’85, M’92) during a keynote address about the future of The Global Fund. “In human terms, it means ending them as public health threats.”

Dybul, on leave from Georgetown as distinguished scholar at the university’s O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, became executive director of the fund in early 2013.  

Scholarship, Implementation

“The Global Fund 2014-2016: Sustaining the Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria” event today provided a forum for policymakers and academics to reflect on the fourth replenishment of the fund, the implementation of a new funding model and the next three years of the fight against the three infectious diseases.

“The funding and implementation of The Global Fund couldn’t be more aligned with what we’re trying to do as a global health community,” said Lawrence Gostin, university professor and director of the O’Neill Institute. “… What we plan on today is really marrying the best of world class scholarship and world class implementation and action to fight these three diseases and to leverage the funding … for very robust country-led health systems.”

Established in 2002, The Global Fund seeks to raise $15 billion between 2014 and 2016 to help control the epidemics.

Positive Results

President Barack Obama announced Monday, the day after World AIDS Day, that the United States will pledge $5 billion to the fund during the current replenishment period. The president also recently announced the dedication of $100 million of government money for an HIV research initiative at the National Institutes of Health.

John Monahan, advisor for global health partnerships at the Department of State and vice-chair of finance and operations committee at The Global Fund, said the United States government is pleased with how the current replenishment process is evolving.

“From the standpoint of the Obama administration, we are very happy with the results of the replenishment conference,” said Monahan, also advisor to Georgetown President John J. DeGioia for global health.

Panel explorationS

The event included three panel discussions led by Georgetown faculty.

Steve Radelet, distinguished professor in the practice of development in the School of Foreign Service, moderated a panel on perspectives of The Global Fund’s international board, while Gostin led a discussion on U.S. programmatic and scientific research perspectives.

Dr. Bernhard Liese, chair of the department of international health, moderated a panel looking at international and national partnerships and The Global Fund’s future.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Eric Goosby, former U.S. Global AIDS coordinator, also took part in the panel discussions.

Human Spirit

Dybul said the fund’s creation marked a shift in the goal of development programs from paternalism driven by self-interest to partnerships that deliver results while joining people and countries together as one.

The Global Fund is committed to contributing international goals by saving 10 million lives and preventing 140 to180 million new infections from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria between 2012 and 2016, according to the fund’s website.

“You could really say it’s about human spirit,” Dybul said. “All of that is promoting human spirit, growing as a joint people as we move toward a more perfect planet. That’s not a bad way to spend a life.”

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