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New Global Fund Executive Director Makes First Visit to Japan

March 11, 2013
New Global Fund Executive Director Makes First Visit to Japan

OsamuKuniiRecently appointed Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul made his first visit to Japan on March 11–12, 2013. The purpose of the visit was to meet partners in Japan and encourage them to maintain Japan’s commitment to the fight against communicable diseases. Accompanied by Director of External Relations Christoph Benn and Director of Strategy, Investment and Impact Osamu Kunii, Dr. Dybul met with the minister of health, labor, and welfare; the senior vice minister for foreign affairs; 14 members of the Japanese Diet; an official from the Japan International Cooperation Agency; and other health experts from NGOs, academia, and the corporate sector. In addition, US Ambassador John Roos hosted a lunch at the embassy for the Global Fund delegation and several influential global health experts and policymakers. Dr. Dybul and Dr. Kunii also sat for interviews with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and Sankei newspaper.

In his discussions in Japan, Dr. Dybul highlighted the unique moment we are now experiencing in the fight against communicable diseases. When the creation of the Global Fund was first proposed at the 2000 G8 Summit in Okinawa, we were in a state of emergency in which a large influx of money was urgently needed to save lives and prevent further worsening of the toll the three diseases were taking. But thanks to the funding that has been channeled through the Global Fund and other programs—and thanks to new scientific developments—we are on the cusp of being able to bring infection rates for all three diseases down low enough that they can be managed. But this is not a reason to be complacent. If we scale back funding now before the diseases become manageable, we risk allowing them to surge out of control again and fighting them later will become more expensive and result in many more lives lost. Considering the key role that Japan has played throughout the life of the Global Fund, Dr. Dybul encouraged Japan to stay with the fight and continue to offer financial and technical assistance to the Global Fund.