As the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria marks its 10th anniversary, Catholic Relief Services offers our congratulations and gratitude for its ongoing support of our work around the world.
Through partnership with the Global Fund, CRS has implemented 40 projects in 26 countries, providing critically needed and morally appropriate health services in the areas of HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. CRS has partnered with the Catholic Church and its affiliated health service providers, ministries of health and other local government agencies, and other faith-based and non-governmental organizations, to strengthen local capacity while simultaneously delivering essential and life-saving services.
Working with the Global Fund, CRS has treated more than 750,000 cases of malaria in children in Benin and distributed nearly 3 million mosquito nets in Niger. More than 70 percent of women in Niger who are pregnant—when malaria is particularly dangerous—now sleep under nets. In The Gambia, CRS has distributed more than 500,000 mosquito nets and has trained over 3,000 peer health educators, local citizens who work in their communities to educate people about malaria and the importance of using mosquito nets. These efforts are saving countless lives and underscore the impact the Global Fund has had around the world.
Faith-based organizations are a key contributor in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and the numerous other health challenges affecting poor and underserved populations. In some developing countries, 30% to 70% of health care is delivered by faith-based hospitals and clinics , and many of these facilities and Mission hospitals have been providing care to the communities they serve for 50 to 100 years. The Catholic Church is one of the largest providers of health care globally, operating 5,246 hospitals, and 17,530 dispensaries, among other health facilities. CRS and our Church partners have seen improving access to the Global Fund process, and we look forward to continued improvements.
While the fight against these diseases is not over, significant progress has been made. CRS and our partners are committed to increasing efficiency during these difficult economic times. We call upon donors not to let fiscal austerity threaten the enormous progress made over the past decade, and urge them to renew their commitments.
CRS would like to thank the Global Fund for its support over the past decade, and we look forward to our continued partnership in providing life-saving services and medicines to those in need.
1. ARHAP. 2006. Appreciating Assets: The Contribution of Religion to Universal Access in Africa. African Religious Health Assets Programme: South Africa.