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Canada increases donations to fight HIV, malaria and tuberculosis

A young girl with malaria rests in the inpatient ward of the Malualkon Primary Health Care Center in Malualkon, in the South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, June 1, 2012. A British drug firm’s clinical trials have moved the prospect of a malaria vaccine closer to market.

ADRIANE OHANESIAN/REUTERS

Canada is increasing its contribution to the Global Fund established to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis by more than 20 per cent.

That will bring this country's new commitment to the fund to $650-million over three years – up from $500-million – at a time when experts say the fight against HIV/AIDS, in particular, is reaching a tipping point and a million new HIV infections annually could be averted through rapid scale-up of antiretroviral therapy.

"Our government is proud to stand with the Global Fund so that the next generation will not have to face the devastation caused by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria," Christian Paradis, the Minister for International Development, said Monday in announcing the commitment.

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"Canada will continue to set ambitious goals and, with the help of partners such as the Global Fund, we will continue to achieve them," said Mr. Paradis.

The Global Fund has asked for a combined commitment from all the world's nations of $15-billion (all figures in U.S. dollars) to carry it through to 2016.

Countries including France, Germany, Switzerland and the Nordic nations have already made pledges. The U.S. said in April that it would give $1.65-billion a year, which amounts to about $5.21 annually per person in that country. And the United Kingdom said that it would give up to $533-million every year. That's more than $8 annually for each U.K. resident.

Canada was slow to step up to the plate. But aid groups say they are pleased with the commitment. The money is part of the G8 Muskoka Initiative announced three years ago by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to improve outcomes for maternal and child health.

Amy Bartlett, the executive director of Results Canada, told reporters that her group and others were "very pleased."

With "the increased contribution by the Canadian government for the world's poorest," said Ms. Bartlett, "they will not have access to the life-saving treatments and interventions that they need."

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