The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, strongly backed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has called for a new round of grant proposals from countries striving to combat the three scourges. “Already, millions of people have benefited from the programmes the Global Fund is financing around the world and hundreds of thousands of people are alive today who otherwise might not have been,” said Richard Feachem, the Executive Director of the Global Fund. “The launch of Round Six today allows us to maintain this vital momentum to win the battle against these three pandemics.”A public/private partnership founded four years ago with the aim of drastically scaling up the resources available to fight the three diseases, the Global Fund currently mobilizes 20 per cent of international financing to combat HIV/ AIDS, and 65 per cent of all international funds invested in combating malaria and tuberculosis. Around half of the Global Fund’s financing is currently spent on medicines such as antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, mosquito nets for malarial prevention and other products, while the other half is used for strengthening health services.The launch of this sixth grant round enables countries to seek funding for achieving global targets such as universal access to AIDS treatment and prevention by 2010 and to cut the number of deaths from tuberculosis and malaria by half by 2015. Where countries have shown effective use of donor resources, round six also presents an opportunity to build on programmes which are having an impact in fighting and preventing the three diseases, and to ensure continuity for those already on treatment, according to the Global Fund.As of end December 2005, 384,000 people have begun ARV treatment through Global Fund supported programsme, and nearly triple the number of ARV recipients funded by Global Fund resources by the end of 2004, the Fund said. In addition, the Fund’s programmes to combat malaria expanded distribution of insecticide treated bed nets to 7.7 million worldwide, while its tuberculosis efforts have detected and treated more than 1 million cases.