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International health professor named to head $2 billion global health fund

24 June 2002

BERKELEY - Richard Feachem, UC Berkeley professor of international health, has been appointed undersecretary general and first executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an independent public-private partnership to combat these diseases.

In his new role, Feachem met today (Monday, June 24) with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson and other national and international health authorities to participate in a conference on "The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in the Global Fight Against HIV/AIDS." The purpose of the conference is to heighten awareness, especially in the private sector, about the global fight to prevent the spread of AIDS.

"I think the U.S. governmentís overall response to the fund has been extremely generous," Feachem said. "It was the first government to make a commitment to the fund. My own expectation is that as others increasingly come to the table and as the fund is able to demonstrate impact on the ground, then U.S. contributions will increase."

Founded last year, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will invest in programs to reduce the suffering and poverty caused by these three diseases, which together kill 8 million people worldwide each year. The Global Fundís board of directors projects that the organization will grow from its current $2 billion to $8 billion by 2007.

Expanding successful intervention programs
Feachem said the fund will support specific programs that enhance prevention and treatment of the three diseases in Africa, Asia, poor countries in Latin America, and poor sections of middle income countries, such as Brazil. The organization will invest in preventive and treatment interventions that have been successful in local areas, then expand those treatment programs nationally and internationally.

"Itís an honor for me to have the opportunity to work for the Global Fund," Feachem said. "The poverty and suffering caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are immense. The fund is positioned to make large investments in controlling these terrible diseases and improving the lives of millions of families throughout the world. I look forward to contributing to the fundís success, to leading the Secretariat, and to working with the fundís many partners and supporters. Together, we can make a difference."

Feachem, 55, a British national, is founding director of the UC San Francisco/UC Berkeley Institute for Global Health, which was established in 1999 to improve health and increase access to effective and affordable health services in all countries. Prior to that position, he was director for health, nutrition and population at the World Bank. From 1989 to 1995, he was dean of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London. He holds a doctor of science degree in medicine and a PhD in environmental health.

Feachem was one of 18 distinguished individuals appointed to the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, which conducted a two-year study and presented results to the World Health Organization in 2001, recommending that coverage of crucial health services to the worldís poor would save millions of lives each year, reduce poverty, spur economic development and promote global security.

The UCSF/UCB Institute for Global Health also led a major evaluation of malaria control worldwide, which will be released later this year.