Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
The February 2005 federal budget allocated $140 million over two years to Canada's funding for the "Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria". The Global Fund is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to battle the three big killer diseases. Increasing Canada's contribution has been a major focus for RESULTS.
On World TB Day in March 2005, CIDA announced a $38 million increase in funding for the global fight against tuberculosis. $25 million of this will go to the Global TB Drug Facility, an innovative and effective mechanism to provide low-cost, high-quality TB drugs.
Largely due to continuing advocacy by RESULTS, Canada continues to be a world leader in the fight against TB, a fight which is now starting to show results. Canadian funding for TB has cured over 2 million patients over the last four years. Globally, the number of people receiving modern TB treatment has doubled since 2001. Most significantly, WHO has reported that global TB mortality is dropping for the first time.
On Africa Malaria Day in April 2005, CIDA announced $20 million for bed nets for bednets in sub-Saharan Africa. These funds will be used to purchase and distribute 2.5 million bednets to protect children and pregnant women from malaria. In most cases, distribution of bednets will be undertaken in conjunction with measles campaigns. This represents a tripling of Canada's funding for malaria, a major improvement and one due largely to RESULTS' advocacy. However, Canada still funds less than half its "fair share" of the global malaria financing gap. Much remains to be done.
Our malaria work has also had an impact at the World Bank, which in April 2005, released a draft of a major new global malaria strategy. We will continue to push for an appropriate level of attention to malaria from the world's largest development funder.
Globally, malaria, which some experts say kills more people than AIDS, now has a much higher profile than it had when we took it on as an issue over three years ago. Results Canada has been acknowledged for our malaria work by the Global Fund itself and it has also significantly increased its malaria funding.
Generic Medicines for poor countries
RESULTS Canada, in collaboration with other Canadian non-governmental organizations, called on Prime Minister Paul Martin and House of Commons Leaders to pass legislation that would amend the Patent Act and Food and Drugs Act that would permit export of low-cost generic drugs from Canada to developing countries where they are desperately needed. After one year of red tape and delay, Bill C-9 finally came into force on May 14, 2005. We will now monitor the impact of this landmark legislation, which is intended to improve access to desperately needed medicines in poor countries.
In April 2005, CIDA announced $24 million to support basic education in Nicaragua and Kenya. Currently, Canada provides about 70% of its "fair share" of the global basic education financing gap. We will continue to work with our NGO partners to increase funding basic education, and in particular to call for more funding to support the removal of user fees, which are the single biggest barrier to poor children attending school.
RESULTS Canada gathered and sent letters from 102 Canadian Members of Parliament in 2005 to the heads of international financial institutions (including the World Bank, UNDP and regional development banks) requesting that the institutions give higher priority to microcredit in their poverty reduction efforts. Microcredit involves loans of as little as $50 to support small self-employed businesses, mostly run by women. These loans have a repayment rate of 98% or better, and this has proven to be one of the most effective ways of helping the poorest people on earth to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
We have repeatedly campaigned for immunization since the early 1990's. The Canadian International Immunization Initiative (CIII) we helped create will continue until at least 2008. According to UNICEF, it saves at least 250,000 children each year from death due to preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus, whooping cough and polio.
As often happens, good existing programs attract extra funding. The February 2005 federal budget provided an extra $160 million boost for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and $42 million for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. These are significant amounts, and Canada is now among the world leaders in support for immunization. This may not have happened without our earlier work, which reversed the cancellation of CIDA's main immunization initiative in 1997-98, and helped double CIDA's immunization funding in 2003.
Homelessness in Canada
In February 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin finally recreated the Ministry of Housing and allocated $1.6 billion in new money over the next two years for affordable housing, including aboriginal housing. This is more federal housing money than we saw in the previous decade, and it could mean more than 800 new units in Vancouver alone. However, it is still a long way from the minimum federal contribution of $2 billion per year that will be required to solve the housing crisis.