The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has announced emergency funding totaling $3.25 million in support of programs related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis among Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
Awarded through the organization's Emergency Fund, a special initiative that provides financing to fight HIV, TB, and malaria in emergency situations, the awards will be administered by the International Organization for Migration, which is providing active and early TB interventions such as drugs, equipment, and awareness-raising to refugees fleeing the four-year civil war in Syria. In Lebanon, a $2 million program will support the delivery of TB diagnostics and treatment services, efforts to raise awareness of the epidemic among target populations, and coordination of a response. In Jordan, a $1.25 million program will focus on reducing drug-susceptible and resistant TB transmission, morbidity, and mortality among Syrian refugees through the provision of uninterrupted access to TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care services.
The $30 million Emergency Fund is designed to prevent disruptions in treatment and essential services when standard funding channels fail to react quickly enough. While Syria has an existing TB grant from the Global Fund, the funds are limited to national boundaries and cannot be extended to address the emerging needs of refugees in neighboring countries. As an upper-middle income country, Lebanon is ineligible for support from the Global Fund, which tapped the Emergency Fund for the first time in November to expand the mass distribution of mosquito nets in Liberia, one of the three countries in West Africa hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak.
"Tuberculosis is a disease that affects the most vulnerable," said Lucica Ditiu, executive secretary of the STOP TB Partnership. "It is essential that we provide a coordinated response to Syrian families fleeing the war."