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How the Global Fund Continues the Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

By Rob Acker March 1, 2023

*This post was originally published on September 22nd, 2022. It was slightly updated on March 1st, 2023 for Zero Discrimination Day.

Twenty years ago, AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis were the deadliest pandemics on earth. Polio and smallpox had been eradicated in relatively recent memory, and these three scourges were — we believed — next in line. World leaders, local communities, civil society, health organizations and the private sector all came together to create the Global Fund as a way to pool their resources, expertise and reach in service of that goal.

So much has happened since then.

In many ways we’ve made enormous progress. To date, the Global Fund partnership has raised and invested more than $50 billion to fight these devastating diseases, saving more than 40 million lives and reducing the combined death rate from the three diseases by more than half. Every three years, the fund is replenished by the 193 member nations of the UN. And that replenishment is happening right now. This is my third replenishment, and I was honored to introduce the private sector participation at Lyons in 2019.

The private sector and consumers contribute to the Fund via the sale of (RED) products — the brainchild of Bono and Bobby Shiver in 2006 — totaling nearly $1B.

In 2017, when Salesforce became a (RED) partner, we put the full resources of Dreamforce in service of (RED) and committed our resources to the fight against AIDS. We are honored to still be an active (RED) partner. As a business headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the epicenters of the AIDS epidemic in the US, we feel especially tied to this work

Of course, it’s happening alongside so many other global crises. COVID is still killing and disabling thousands of people around the world every day. Ongoing political upheaval in places like Ukraine and Yemen have killed and displaced millions. And extreme weather fueled by climate change has dropped water levels to record lows, while at the same time driving devastating flooding and fires.

Resources are stretched thin. Global health is just one crisis among many. But we can not afford to lose focus on the critical work at hand. In fact, COVID has served as an acute reminder of how global health affects us all. For the first time since the Global Fund was established, infection rates for all three diseases are rising. Infectious diseases do not respect borders drawn on a map, and they do not discriminate based on gender, race or class. It is not enough to protect ourselves, we must protect everyone.

Fortunately, COVID has also served as a reminder that when we work together, we can achieve extraordinary things. As evidenced by the fact that in less than one year, we went from a new disease to a new vaccine that we were able to distribute quickly through partnerships like Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and COVAX, which Salesforce is proud to support.

We have learned so much in the past 20 years. We have learned to adapt, we have learned to innovate, and we have learned to work together. Now is the time to use those learnings to continue to fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. At Salesforce, we believe that the business has a key role to play in improving the state of the world. This replenishment is key to that vision. And we all have an increasingly urgent role to play.

Learn more about (RED) and the Global Fund and join us in supporting their critical work